Heart of the Holidays

The holidays bring out the best and the worst in families.

Who among us has not been tortured by an uncle who loves to tell jokes? The same ones, mind you, year after year after year. Sitting next to him for the entire meal, does not make for good digestion.

Or the aunt who is stuck in time, bringing gifts for teenagers that are better suited for ten-year-olds.

And how about the grandmother who complains that the coffee isn't hot enough and the pie doesn't taste the way she used to bake it?

Mix in the cousin who knows everything about everything from how to kill bed bugs to the best way to please a woman. The sister-in-law who pontificates about the benefits of organic food until you want to jam a yam into her mouth in order to silence her. The brother who finishes off a bottle of whiskey and passes out with his head on his plate.

And you have enough drama for a blockbuster holiday move.

So how do we get through this?

We shake our heads. Pour another glass of wine. And smile. Because, bottom line - they are family.

Because some time during the evening there will be those other moments.

When sisters who have been arguing, push all those angry words out the window.

When a daughter realizes she is one step closer to being the oldest generation in the family.

When a grandfather asks what holiday is being celebrated as his great grandson helps him light the Hanukah candles.

When a toddler rips open his gift, tosses the present aside and climbs into the box.

When the kitchen is filled with laughter and chatter as dishes are dried, stacked and put away.

A cacophony of sounds, enough to drive one crazy. But the silence would be unbearable.

In these moments there is enough heart to challenge any Hallmark film ever made.

So, we nod our heads. Pour another glass of wine. And smile.

Because through the best and worst, they are always our family.

Previously Published in Scary Mommy's Guide to the Holidays.