Family and holidays go together like turkey and naps. (Side note, the Thanksgiving Day Nap is arguably the king of all naps.)
However, as life progresses, family dynamics progress as well.
Growing up, big holidays were spent at the Dude’s grandparents. Birthdays, Easter, and Thanksgiving would shift from time to time, but Christmas Eve was a given. Twenty five years straight, the Dude sat in the “No-no Room” singing Christmas carols, shaking Santa’s hand, and enjoying the company of the extended family.
Then life happened.
Changes in location, changes in career paths, and ultimately, changes in family life brought the Christmas streak to an end a few years ago. Now it’s a struggle to make one holiday with the extended family, never mind a prolonged streak.
Mix in the complexity of alternating holidays between Dude and Mrs. Dude’s families, plus factoring in siblings and their in-laws, and determining a satisfactory holiday schedule is nothing short of a miracle.
As families grow and life marches on, priorities adjust. The family focus that helped create my identity is shifting. I have great holiday memories of family dropping their everyday concerns and coming together to strengthen bonds that have developed over generations. Mrs. Dude and I now have the opportunity to create these memories for our kids. But roles are chaning. My parents are now the Grandparents that can’t say “no.” My sister and brother-in-law are now the fun aunt and uncle. And so on.
And while priorities change, the definition of family remains constant. The bond that families share, and strengthen by coming together to celebrate life and the company of loved ones, is not sacrificed. It’s fortified. A new generation is added to the familial chain. The bonds passed through the ancestry are extended once again.
While we can’t always share the holidays with each and every member of our family, the love persists. The pride and comfort of knowing who we are and where we came from carry on, and more importantly, are shared with new faces.
Happy holidays from the Dude Family to our family and friends. You may not be in our direct line of vision, but you’ll always remain in our hearts. We are very thankful to have you in our lives.
So, with that prelude complete…
We hit the road last Wednesday in search of some turkey. We’re alternating Thanksgiving and Christmas between Dude and Mrs. Dude’s families, and this year was a Dude Turkey Day. We went to stay with The Lady in the Shoe (as in “the lady in the shoe had so many kids she didn’t know what to do”), aka the Dude’s sister, and we had a blast. Lots of great food, wine, football, jokes, and time spent with the ones we love.
We went to Thanksgiving and…
I learned a few things:
- My mother will sleep on a pull out couch in the middle of the house knowing there are two infants getting up throughout the night and four other kids up by 7:00 AM, and then she’ll change every diaper, run every bath, change every outfit, read every book, draw every picture, put the babies down for naps, with zero naps for herself, and bring four pies to Thanksgiving dinner…all to spend every waking moment with her grandkids. In all fairness, Papa Dude does most of this as well, but that Grandma motivation is hard to duplicate. I guess I’ve always known this, but it’s still impressive to witness.
- Despite that fact that The Lady in the Shoe has four kids under 6 pooping in one house and a mountain of diaper experience, she made the bold statement that Little Dude’s poop is the stinkiest she has ever smelled! Can you believe that? Could this be?Given the wretched smell of the formula we use for his reflux, and the nasty stench of the spit up, I suppose I can believe it. But I wasn’t expecting this. I just assumed that horrible odor was natural for babies on formula. I guess I’m pleased to know it’s not normal to smell that bad, but the downside is that we now have the stinky kid.
- Lastly, I learned that my Dad is crazy enough to sincerely ask the clerk at The Dollar Tree how much items cost! And, according to everyone at the festivities, I’m just like my Dad. Mrs. Dude, get ready for some absurd quirkiness as we grow old together.
But most importantly, we went to Thanksgiving and…
A rave/dance-fight broke out!
This video pretty much sums up the chaos that 6 kids under 6 can create when bottled up in one house.