Home for Christmas! It has been a while. At least a couple of years. What I missed most are the family meals, all gathered around the table. Not just dinners, but breakfast and lunch as well.
When you are a guest visiting my parent's home, you have to be prepared to get up early in the morning to join in for breakfast. No exceptions. No sleeping in -- that is something you do on your own time, not on family time.
The whole family will wait until everyone is downstairs, all showered and dressed, before anyone can start. So you better set an alarm clock unless you want to call the wrath upon you of the early risers growing hungrier by the minute.
The table is set beautifully with a variety of breads, cold cuts, cheeses and other delicacies. My mom and dad get up before everyone else to prepare and to make sure that us kids are all in awe when we enter the breakfast area.
You might think, this is too much pressure. I love to sleep in on vacations, have some time to myself. Do my own thing, not having to consider anything or anyone else. But that's the whole point.
These almost staged gatherings around the table create something magic. Whereas we are usually busy with our own appearances and concerns, we somehow transition to a different reality. Leaving no room for individualism, a place of togetherness emerges which is unparalleled by any other setting.
It's hard to explain. Many people nowadays experience togetherness through social media. But that is not real. It is perceived connectedness. Posting a status on what you are doing or sharing an opinion in the hope that someone will comment on or like your post. Interacting but not connecting.
No, then take our family dinners. Everyone speaking (yelling) at the same time making sure to be heard and the one who is loudest rules the conversation (usually my dad). All in good fun though, teasing one another.
The conversation is shared with the whole table. Very rarely do two people stray off in a separate discussion. Some are more quiet than others, but everyone is enjoying themselves and feels they belong.
For a moment we forget about our day-today worries. And we feel rich. Rich that we have such amazing people in our lives. People that we appreciate, respect, and love to spend time with. I wish it would never pass. I wish it was like that every day with everyone. That is my Christmas thought.
Here some of the other Christmas thoughts from around the table:
My mom: "I'm richest of all because all of you are here."
My dad: "I'm so grateful that we can celebrate this together."
My sister: "I feel so great about the fact that all of us are in wonderful loving relationships."
My other sister: "There is so much love and I feel it.
My brother: "I hope that everyone can become happy in their own way and as such respected by everyone."
My newest brother in law: "I feel so welcome and greeted by warmth and I wish that upon everyone."
My sister in law: "I feel very happy and words cannot express it."
My brother in law: "This family is diverse in so many ways: religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. and we are all sitting around the same table cherishing and loving each other (unless we are playing a card game :)).
Happy Holidays everyone!