Surviving the Holidays - Aspen Real Life
Aspen over Christmas

Surviving the Holidays

The holidays bring a mixed bag of emotions as family comes to town and our work load increases tri-fold over Christmas "break". And it's all beautiful, until it's not. But I'm holding on so far and with a case of wine in the wine rack and cookies baking in the oven, I think it's going to be a good one.


[su_heading size=”18″]Surviving the Holidays[/su_heading]

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.”

And that’s what I’m talkin’ about. It’s not about being eaten by the monsters, it’s about what happens when you’re all alone inside that dark cavern, without your family.Surviving the Holidays

Surviving the Holidays

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4 thoughts on “Surviving the Holidays”

  1. Its all about the wine at night!!! Actually, thats not true..the wine just makes it funner. What is better then the whole family skiing together in tons of snow and sun and warmth and eating french fries for lunch and fighting who goes on the chair lift together and who goes in what car or who sleeps in what bed. What can beat all of us waking up together in PJ’s that dont match and constant missing socks and one child wants scrambled eggs and another wants filet minot…but then your sister at 9am puts on very loud rap music and the whole family breaks out into a dance frenzy (scary at 9am)
    Who can beat on Christmas Day the delight of faces opening presents and the tears of those who did not get what they want and the smiles of those who did and then the parents constantly repeating how it is not about the presents but about family and love and to be kind and good.
    Then…on Christmas Day for the whole family, dogs, cousins, sisters, brothers, and mothers all pile into the back of a pickup truck and go up into the snow covered mountains to hike in the sun….the snow sparkels like diamonds and looks like crystals. Snow ball fights, cross country skiing..and tons and tons of photos and squaking at each other and mostly…laughter.
    So families are difficult, emotions fly but all in all…who is luckier then us…meaning all of us with families…and if you don’t have one…we will always include you in our crazy one
    MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone

  2. Hi Jillian! Being an only child I can’t imagine what fun it is to share time with a big family. Our Christmas was lovely, just very quiet by comparison. Well, quiet is relative. We have a new puppy, my daughter brought HER new pup over, my son brought his dog and of course there was Mondo. My friends have gaggles of grandchildren, but we are in the dog mode and they stole the show!
    Huge Holiday Hugs!

  3. Oh girl. Maybe I’m just emotional, but that last sentence really made me cry. I feel sad for one of my sisters who is an alcoholic and very alone inside her own pain. I wish there was some way I could reach out to her and fold her back inside the warmth of our family again.

    PS Gorgeous and amazing writing, as always. Sorry to get all weepy on you.

    • Naomi, you have been catching up on your reading! So glad that we can be there for to make each other laugh and cry for without our online friends writing could be a very lonely world!

      My lesson of this new year is that, although we are loving and caring people, we are not super heroes. Would that we were!


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