In a big family it's hard to cram everyone's festivities within the allotted days on a standard calendar. I was only issued 31 days for December this year, not sure about you. As we inch closer to the big day within a brood that puts an importance on both old and new traditions, this year I have had a few moments to take pause to soak in some things that transcend time.
There exists a series of home movies that my husband converted for his mom and contains what I would call....priceless footage of he and his sisters and cousins doing what all children of the 80's did: using a giant video camera without parental supervision to entertain themselves for hours and in doing so preserving, like a time capsule: trendy outfits, questionable haircuts, and evidence of days gone by when they may not have gotten along as well as they do today. They also display their tremendous performing arts abilities, choreography and lip-syncing skills across all genres, including music from artists such as:
Joan Jett....lots and lots of Joan Jett.
With a groan and an eyeroll, the two youngest sisters who are the stars of the "Best Christmas Performance Ever" object but are overruled when the crowd requests that the DVD be crammed in the player for us all to laugh at to get us in the holiday mood.
So we see a younger version of the youngest sister, hair wild from over-teasing and following the instructions being given by the oldest sister running the camera, we watch as she headbangs on the bigscreen and aren't really at all surprised when her son, not yet in school, starts to shake his bonbon to the music he hears and it becomes apparent that he definitely gets his moves from his mother.
Yessssssss. But later, in addition to Dolly "Walkin' In A Winter Wonderland" and after I wipe my tears of laughter away from the preteen girls screaming at their brother to "GET OUUUUUT!!!!" after walking through and ruining ANOTHER take, I notice something different in one of the clips. One of the cousins is huddled in the corner with a smirk, just like a couple boys in the room with us today. Our "boys" (18+), we know are giggling over something on one of their phone screens and we know it's probably not appropriate. I ask what the cousin on the video is doing. Jason laughs.
"Drawing dirty pictures with an Etch-a-Sketch."
New video footage was made this year, including some sledding action that was pretty awesome. I look forward to the day that our kids will groan with embarrassment when we force them to let us watch them over and over again too. I hope they're the good sports that my sister in laws are (really, you guys are good sports, and you're awesome, and I love you). Sorry, rest of the world that's not our family, the old video series is not available on YouTube....yet.
My kids love getting gifts from Grandma more than Santa because they actually get what they want from Grandma. Maybe because they don't ask Grandma for things like an iPhone5 or a laptop. At any rate, it's a win-win situation and they love it. Plus, there's nowhere else you can get an endless supply of sugar, exactly the present that you wanted, and each family walks away with a tetherball pole to say "Hey Chuck....I'm the only one in my neighborhood with my own personal tetherball pole, so suck it".
The grownups get very personalized gifts as well. As the hubs and I sat next to each other and unwrapped our respective boxes and held up our treasures, he examined my purple sweater with the oversized jeweled button and proclaimed in his outside voice [which he insists is his inside voice and that I should just calm down], "That looks like a grandma sweater." Then he promptly pulled teenager clothes out of his box. Two hoodies and a puffy vest. They each were exactly our clothing personalities, hilariously. I think we need a stylist who can get us each a bit closer to the midline. I dress like an old lady who sometimes wears yoga pants and he dresses like a teenager who sometimes has a job requiring a uniform. We have to get our act together (but I'm keeping the sweater).
Overall such a fun time crammed into too short of a day, our family busting at the seams, and Grandma Bucky making doing it all look so easy. We are so fortunate to have her willing to wrangle our herd and put up with the shenanigans that take place there....they won't admit it now but I know for a fact my children treasure the time and memories even more than they treasure the presents, and if you know my shorties, they treasure presents a lot.