There’s Nothing Like Family at Christmas…

With all the family time that happens during the holidays, you can pretty much count on SISTERS to make you giggle or drive you CRAZY!

I used to think people were nuts. They would always talk about how much they dreaded spending time with family over the holidays. Not me. I’ve always LOVED family Christmases. My family. Jason’s family. Extended family with relatives I barely know. I love it all.

And Jason and I are lucky that we get along so well with our siblings (we each have two sisters). It’s always nice to get to spend extra time together over the holidays. At least, it used to be…

And then we had kids. And all of our siblings had kids. And all of a sudden, I started to understand what everyone was talking about. Our siblings started to drive us CRAZY! :) (But you guys know we love you…)

You know how it is. You get married. If you’re lucky, you get along with your new in-law family (we both do). Everything is great. During the holidays, you play games, open presents, go for long walks, etc. These things are pretty basic. It’s easy to get along while doing these things.

If you’re like Jason and I (pre-kids, that is…), it’s kind-of nice to still act like kids for family holidays. You let Mom tell you what to do again. You let someone else plan meals. You go to bed pretty much when everyone else goes to bed. You start picking at your sisters again. It’s great. It’s just like the old days.

And then kids come along. And everyone parents differently. And everyone thinks their way to parent is the best. And one family’s kids are running rampant around the room, breaking everything in sight, and another family’s kids aren’t allowed to stay up past 7 p.m. (Even if we are opening presents tonight. Sorry. Not gonna happen.) Some kids are hopped up on sugar and driving everyone nuts and other kids aren’t allowed to eat more than 1. Cookie. Per. Day. Period. One mom needs everyone to be very quiet while the baby naps, and another mom is enjoying the break and letting everyone else discipline her kids. One dad is having stern talks with his kids, while someone is muttering under their breath, “Oh, give her a break. It’s Christmas.”

And someone is always crying.

It can be a real mess.

This is something that I’ve been thinking about lately. It isn’t that we stop getting along with our families as we get older. I think it’s just that real life collides with our old way of life — letting Mom and Dad be in charge. Suddenly, we’re very aware of the fact that we’ve made certain choices that are different than the way we were raised. And though we could once just go with the flow, we now feel a new weight of responsibility. With good reason. After all, we can’t suddenly just change all the rules for our kids because their cousins are allowed to do something differently.

My solution? Throw all the kids in one room, slam and lock the door, and leave them there until everyone’s ready for bed. Yes, that would do it.

Hmmm …

Or maybe that’s not the best idea. After all, I love the chance to spend time with my nieces and nephews, too. Especially those I don’t see often.

So this year, I’m going to try to be the most understanding aunt ever. My goal is to allow my sisters and sisters-in-law the maximum flexibility. I’m going to try not to judge. I’ll help with babies and kids when needed and back off when someone wants to do it their own way. I’ll wipe noses. I’ll change diapers, and I won’t mention when they need to be changed. I won’t make remarks about anyone else’s educational plan for the future. And I won’t ask pointed questions about kids’ bedtimes or rules about jumping on furniture. I won’t sneak ANYBODY extra cookies. I’ll strive to be the very role model of family unity.

I’ll be very understanding. After all, not everyone can raise their children as perfectly as Jason and me…

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