A friend just asked me today if I survived Christmas. It's been a whirlwind of activity, family, friends and emotion. It's strange taking on new traditions as a married couple when you're used to your own for 30 something years. Today on the 27th of December, I went to visit my childhood home. My stepdad of almost 20 years invited my husband and I over, along with his grown sons and grandsons.
When I was growing up, I'm sure I bothered the hell out of these teenaged boys. Jason always teased me that I would stand at the end of his bed, first thing in the morning bugging him in my eight year old manner, to play cards with me.
Many tears were shed and memories recalled as we all chatted about life, death, the past and the present. It seemed strange to me that Michael did not know about an entire chapter of my life, two thirds of which were spent with this side of the family. As an extended member noted today though, we are all adult now and old enough to talk about how we all fit into this perplexing puzzle of blended families.
I took Michael on a tour of the home I grew up in and had an odd feeling when seeing my old room I grew up in. The kind of feeling when you are visiting an old high school where it once seemed so big and daunting, the hallways so grand and scary and as an adult, it now seems all so insignificant. I spent so many hours in that bedroom chatting until the wee morning sunrise to my girlfriends, crying heartbreaking tears over young breakups, planning my adult life in many details, all of which I would later learn were all part of the journey and plan and none of which followed suit to my intricate plans. I remember the day I moved out. My room was bare and I cried like a baby; partly because of the nostalgia, but probably mostly because deep down, I knew I'd never be back.
When Bob's son Jimmy and I were trying to recall how much time had passed since we had seen each other, he noted probably 8 years when in fact, it was probably more like 18 years. He handed me a wrapped package that was to remind me of gifts we used to exchange when we were younger. I told him how great his sons had turned out and his lip quivered with pride.
Family is everything, no matter how blended, extended, far removed or estranged. You can make it work and it is so important to show your kids love, affection, approval and pride. Everyone just wants the approval of their parents, and every parent just wants to be proud of the way they raised their children.
Merry Christmas to all, and may the memories of your past, shape you to be the wonderful person you are today.
Me, in my old room, in my mom's rocking chair.