In my family, we celebrate birthdays in clumps. Yesterday’s clump was the late January/early February bunch which included; Max, my Mom and my adorable niece, Grace.
In the various lunch rooms I frequent in my work, I often catch snippets of conversation, especially around holiday time, of people lamenting the fact that they are going to have to get together with their extended families. I hear about angst, stress, inequality of work load and various family feuds and tensions.
And as I sit and listen I am always so deeply appreciative that my experience could not be more dissimilar. I look forward to a family gathering with great anticipation. I love the e-mails flying back and forth while we plan the menu, the location and the timing. I bask in the fact that every single party is pot luck and that no one ever has to spend days slaving over a hot stove to prepare. Really, preparing for a party means; cook whatever you have volunteered to provide, make sure there is no pee on the toilet seat, ensure that the house is as toddler-friendly as possible, buy a few bottles of wine and get ready for the fun.
Now, don’t get me wrong…we are human, we are a family, and we are certainly not perfect. We definitely have our moments. However, the foundation of our family is resting solidly on love, respect, joy, tons of laughter and fun. So, even when the moments happen they are always held within the container of love.
Yesterday’s birthday clump celebration was hosted at our house and, as usual, my heart was full as I watched the loving interplay of my family; Max bouncing his little baby cousin on his lap, Michael trailing his two-year-old cousin around the party, my dad stirring two enormous pots of chili on the stove, my future brother-in-law (and dear friend) in deep hockey conversation with Zachary, all the help in the kitchen, and all the easy laughter around the table.