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Family ties, sun, sand, and tennis

Friday, December 28, 2012

Home. The smell of Tide and Coppertone. The waves making their little slurping sounds as they lap against our dock, the whooshing of their ocean counterparts farther away.

Kitchen time with Mom and Nonna. Library time with Dad and Granpa. Running, laughing, fighting, talking with the brothers. All my family, in one house, at one time.

I'm a family person. There's nothing that will ever supplant my family as No.1 on my list of priorities, not even my job. I'd leave any and all conferences, court dates, arbitration councils if any of them needed me at any given moment. This is not negotiable.

My family is culturally and ethically diverse. We don't have any one tradition, we have a number from all over the world- it's a colorful, whirling, exciting maelstrom of characters when we're all together. We have the Christmas Eve dinner and the little bit of KFC fried chicken to go with it. We have the Christmas Day turkey and the progression of the three Wise Men toward their goal and the last day of our Christmas, January 6th. My grandparents bought a menorah for one of the relatives that married into the family, even if we actually have no idea in general what to do with it and rely on that person to teach us the traditions and stories that come with it. The only thing we're missing is something Kwanzaa related, but I'm sure we'll get there some day.

There's a lot of music in my family over Christmas. Most of my relatives, even the ones that married into the family, play one or more instruments, and we have a traditional Christmas concert in the week after Christmas once everyone's arrived (I'm lucky to have been born into an academic clan, so almost everybody gets a week or more off for Christmas). It's never Christmas music we play, but we don't have a full symphony orchestra, so ever since I took a class for fun during HS it's my duty to find a piece we can play with the weird instrument mix available and to make sure everybody's got a score. This year, we're playing some Elgar (Enigma), and some Beethoven (wind quintets).

We also had our Family Fun Tennis Tournament yesterday. I'm from Delray Beach, Florida- guess why we're playing. This year, I was still banned from sports by my doc, but watching my relatives go at each other sudden-death style was SO much fun. Dropping a game gets you a "small" penalty from a cookie jar, dropping a set gets you a "big" one from Nonna's hat. Small penalties are things like losing a shoelace, or a hat, or peeling potatoes for a meal. Big ones, on the other hand... let's just say that some people suddenly get to wear pointe shoes for the next set, or will have to vacuum the parts of the house the Roombas don't get to (my own has inspired my grandparents to get three- whoa!), or have laundry duty or dessert/main course/appetizer duty for the next meal. We're all very competitive...

Winner gets... eternal glory (for a year) plus the ugliest trophy you can imagine that was a much-hated arts&crafts project for school in my third grade.

First losers get to sit in the shade and sip cocktails/soft drinks with the spectators who didn't get to play because either they've never played tennis before (one aunt, but she's not getting out of it next year, there are lessons planned!), are injured or ill (Nonna, me, brother who broke his ankle this year), or are needed as referees and are deemed to small and breakable to play (some younger family members).

It's a whole afternoon of three courts being invaded by one gigantic gaggle of geeks (geekiness is a definite prerequisite for getting along with my family, there are no non-geeks in it because they've always run screaming before).

Well, BF will be put to the geek test too. He's flying over because he got a great last minute deal and told me he wanted to get away from his family. This is where my inner alarm goes off again- seriously? Get away from your family? For me, this is the only time I get with them, uninterrupted, why would I want to get away from that? I'm having second thoughts about this relationship over this. Really. It's one of me nonnegotiables and he's just brushing them off? WTH? Not that I don't want to see him, but... doesn't he like his family? Will he be very much offended that mine is more important to me than alone time with him (sorry to say so, but it's the truth. No.1 spot, remember?)? WHY does he want to get AWAY from his FAMILY? Yep, my brain is having a minor freakout right now.

He thinks we're going to have alone time, in romantic (uh-huh. It's still winter!) Florida. He hasn't met the whole clan yet. We have an entire movie theater booked for when we're going to go see the Hobbit. WOOHOO!

He'll either run screaming, or be assimilated. There is no try. /geek quota filled for the day.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    My family is getting spread out nationally and it is difficult to find time and location for maximum attendance. This is the 1st year the Christmas gathering has been away from the "home town" and we gathered in a snowy and icy Paragould, AR. Had great fun, DS and BIL have indoor pool so kids sswam and young adult cousins life guarded and played in ool and rest carried on and told new stores and shared old stories with the youngsters. Scary part is 40 is the upper end for youngsters. All in all, only one set of in-laws don't mix and we live with that knowing they are missing good things.
    Thanks for sharing your family's celebration and giving new ideas for others.
    1909 days ago
    Mamisheli, thanks for the perspective. We're all so close, and most of the time dispersed all over the world, so this really IS the only time everybody's together. Most of the in-law families try to come down to FL, too, even if we can't fit them in the house.

    Peru? Wow. I hope you'll find happiness and family when you relocate, and that it won't be too stressful.

    Thank you for your kind words, everyone! I'm certain my freakout will be over soon :)

    Have a great before-the-happy-new-year time!!!
    1910 days ago
    There are all sorts of families, and it sounds like you have a great one!

    1910 days ago
    I think I might purposely lose early in the tennis rounds to get my cocktail! emoticon
    I'm glad you're having a great time with your family!
    1910 days ago
    I loved your description of the tennis game.

    I can kind of understand your boyfriend. I love my own family. My late husband's family was definitely different. His mother was only happy when she was miserable and making others so. He would joke "my in-laws are better than your in-laws." So your boyfriend may find your family to be a breath of fresh air.

    My fiance's family is wonderful. I am grateful for Facebook so I can keep in touch with them while I'm away. My own family is dispersed all over the US - and I have a daughter in Ireland. My older daughter and 2 grands live with me, and it's precious. But it'll be nice to relocate eventually to Peru with my second husband and be close to so many relations.

    Thanks for sharing about your family! it was delightful to get a glimpse! May God bless you and yours.
    1910 days ago
    1910 days ago
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