Everyone knows that we don't choose our family, right? I mean it takes some of us longer to learn that then others, but we all find out sooner or later than just because we're related to someone doesn't mean we're perfect.
I'm not sure why we put family on a pedestal to begin with. But we do. There's always that one aunt who is exceptionally stern (read scary) but we view her as the exception, not the rule. We ignore rudeness, look past improperness, and try to see the good in everyone who lives in our family tree. I don't think this is all bad, but why is it wrong to see people for who they are? Flaws and all.
This may seem like a strange thing to write about days before Christmas, but so much of the holiday season is about family. And since we're expected to deal with family maybe it's the perfect time to focus on the facts about family.
My family is good. Not perfect, but good. I've had ups and downs with various members, but overall they're decent, hardworking people. In the past, though, during some of those downs, I dreaded the holidays. I didn't want to be fake and didn't want to throw off the whole status quo. Thankfully, I'm past that...but not everyone is. I've heard a lot about the stresses of going home to visit parents, white lies being told to keep from having to see relatives, and general discontent regarding the whole fam damily.
Let me lay it out...they're human too. Moms make mistakes. Aunts can be obnoxious. Cousins cantankerous, and grandpas grumpy. Brothers can bother and sisters might make you sad. Uncles could cause ulcers and dads don't deal with anything. It might all be true in your life, or maybe just some of it. But that can all be said about me from time to time too. If a line gets crossed...deal with it. Don't let pieces of sand burrow under your skin and holiday after holiday irritate you more and more. Take the pot off the burner before it boils over in the middle of dessert.
In the end...don't feel like you have to love family just because they're family. Love them, spend time with them because you want to. Because you choose to. Choose your "family" whether they're friends you've met through the years or family in the more traditional sense.
To bring it back to the reason for the season...Jesus chose his family. Those nearest to him had no blood in common, but they were his brothers and sisters none the less.
Like I said before, my family is good. Scott and I have chosen family and friends to be with when we can. I know we don't see any of you often enough, but we do love you and think of you. So please don't read this and think I'm talking about you...none of you have caused me heart ache (at least not in some time!) but I am talking to some of you. Some of you are the reason for this post...having shared your uncertainties regarding how to deal with family members. So, take this for what it is...my thoughts on whether you should divorce your family, confront your aunt, or talk down your mother-in-law.
Here's hoping the light of Christmas helps each of us appreciate those we choose to spend it with and illuminates how we should treat all those we love and tolerate.