This holiday season, with two sisters, our mother, the husbands, eight children, our cousin Peter visiting from Los Angeles and two dogs, the energy should be bottled.
Every year I forget what it’s like to have the kids home from school where the weather makes getting outside with teams of kids far more challenging and my nerves get shot because time is not my own. It’s an adjustment that I am not licensed to handle but this year my sister Melanie is staying with me and our love fest is brewing with nose and foreheads touching at any given moment and silliness abounding, claws retracted.
“Sisters are a beautiful thing, until it turns ugly,” somebody said to me the other day when I told him I would be with my two sisters and all of our children over the holidays. He was right about that but in the past few years, my sisters and I have been working hard on listening to one another without allowing our sensitivities to overrule our practicality and it works, most of the time.
I’m not saying it’s perfect. At any given moment a comment hits a nerve and emotions run the gamut but there is always somebody that tosses the humor in, tempering the foaming boil.
As we walk through the bustling town of Aspen together we feel impenetrable, as if there is an electrical current pulsing all around us. Everything outside the current passes by like a dream.
When I ask the children what their favorite part of the holidays has been they all agree that it’s being all together every day and every night. It’s the same for me. Companionship with the people I love the most, day in, day out. And when the nerves get challenged, I pop a bottle for there is always someone who agrees that the time is now, regardless of what the clock reports.
With Melanie staying with me she helps me to laugh at the insanity of it all. We bustle around the house together, she making the beds and folding the laundry as I cook and make futile attempts at writing, the interruptions too unbearable. When Wade gets home from work she opens my office door and they both chuckle at my roar.
The laughing is deep and real and well needed as tempers explode when a game goes wrong and Tucker, with a vivid imagination, has another melt down screaming out, “I’m going to take you and put you on a big platter and feed you to a monster and he’s going to eat you and you’ll be all alone in his stomach with no family.”