Welcome back to the brave souls who have found their way back after the Advent Calendar, and hello again to faithful regulars who are a bit winded after the breathless month. Phew! I tell you, I’ve made enough food to feed a large family or a small army. Beef stew, potato and veggie bake, peanut brittle, vanilla caramels (turned out well, thanks to the new candy thermometer), and banana bread. Those are three of my specialties. I do enjoy cooking a real meal, but I love making desserts. Cake, cookies, sweet bread, candy…mm! One dessert I can’t make well, though, is pie. I have tried to get the pie crust right, but I usually end up resorting to the pre-made kind. There’s nothing wrong with pre-made pie crusts if that’s the way you like to bake, but it’s annoying if you’ve tried to do it from scratch.
One thing I’ve noticed this holiday season is the supreme skill family members have to drive each other crazy. I don’t mean a little irritated (although that certainly happens) but blow up, flare up, absolutely lose your cool and burst into tears kind of crazy.
Never had that happen in your family? Boy, are you lucky.
Family members love each other like no one else, and we hurt each other like no one else. A stray comment, a thoughtless gesture, a failure to notice or to receive messages in the way they were intended…our multiple life layers of self-protection, hurt, and coping mechanisms can make it difficult to treat our family members the way they should be treated.
Like any family, mine has its share of skeletons in the closet. (Ooh, kinky!) My parents’ culture of “Don’t say anything negative” shielded me from much when I was a child, but older cousins shared the salacious details no one else would acknowledge. Yet, in my family’s reserved manner, people made their displeasure known in a quiet but powerful way. One aunt never made a scene, but she also never spoke to another aunt even while they were in the same room. I appreciated being able to have my entire family at gatherings (how many people wish for warring family members to make peace for their wedding or other special occasion?), but still…it makes for odd celebrations.
What idiosyncracies does your family have? What drives you crazy at family gatherings for the holidays?