I love family chaos…the good kind. Not the yelling, hostile dramatic kind but the crazy, humorous and energetic kind. The kind that is produced when you get lots of kids, dogs, cousins and food involved.
When I was young, my grandmother made things happen. She was the glue that stuck all those crazy family members together. She lived with us when I was growing up and although every holiday was hosted by my mom, Grandma Jean was the reason. When all were present and accounted for there were around 40 of us…lots of cousins, lots of wine and lots of fun.
When Grandma passed on, my mom did her duty for several years. Eventually I came to a place where I wanted my own traditions and my own legacy. Holidays became centered around my home and it has been that way ever since. Now, don’t get me wrong…I love visiting my family, but my heart is always going to be at home.
We have tried traveling for the holidays and I hated it in a prima donna sort of way. I know, I’m spoiled…please don’t judge me too harshly, but while on the beach in Hawaii I was in tears because I would have rather been scrubbing dishes in my own kitchen. Problems of luxury.
So, we do things here now. And I start my good old fashioned guilt trip early on, like in September. When guilt doesn’t do the trick I move onto bribery and then threats. It becomes harder and harder to rope all of the older kids into my way of home based thinking because I have instilled a sense of adventure in them as well. I had no idea that instilling a beautiful trait in my kids would end up biting me in the butt from time to time. It’s a lot like herding cats when the holidays roll around.
Somehow I always seem to get my way and all of my little darlings end up under one roof for the holidays. It gets tougher and tougher…especially since I have an Ex who always has a plan, but each year I get it done. I also have a partner with an Ex and kids…so getting it to all come together is not as simple as it may seem, but again…we get it done. Why? Because it is THAT important.
This Thanksgiving I put the kids to work. Each of them had to make something for dinner and I kept my hands to myself. I gave them clear, precise instructions on how it has been done and let them go to it. My seven year old son made cranberry sauce from scratch and potatoes. My ten year old daughter is in charge of the turkey! Nathan (14 yr old video gamer) even graced us with his presence and made the creme brûlée. I, like any good manager, watched my little workers get things done. Why did I do it like this? Because I want them to catch the spirit! When we are all in the kitchen together running into each other a bit of magic takes place…and it is the very thing that I live for. Not to mention the pride they felt when their food came out in the most amazing way…especially Sam.
Matriarch of an empire, building a legacy and keeping things in perspective.