Wednesday, December 15, 2010

chaos, tension and a little fruitcake

that would describe my family. the one i was born into- the one with 9 siblings. individually i can handle each one pretty well and it can be a pleasant encounter. i can even take on certain sibs in pairs and it's good and entertaining. once you get more than three of us in a room tension builds. to be honest everyone has a certain amount of crazy in them. some just have more than others. don't get me wrong i love each and every one of my 7 remaining siblings. ( and no i did not kill two of them and if i had it would not be the two that have died) i know there are some great case studies out there about family dynamics and most major magazines have at least one article dedicated to holiday stress and family and coping.

the one thing that never gets addressed is tolerance and manners. so here is my christmas gift to the universe. feel free to spread the message and maybe we can have a less crazy christmas.

  1. do the dishes. when tensions are running high the best thing in the world is hot soapy dish water and it buys you some alone time.
  2. keep your mouth shut! if you can't say anything nice- don't say anything at all - even if you KNOW you are right and they are WRONG. this is not the time to settle and win arguments.
  3. behave. forget santa- your children are watching EVERYTHING and children learn by example. do you want them to turn out just like your least favorite relative?
  4. give me a hug/kiss should not be spoken. read universal body language- arms wide open mean yes you may hug/kiss me. if not your demands just piss people off.
  5. keep your opinion to yourself. or at least hold it until you are back in your own environment away from the family and then by all means express yourself.
  6. you can handle anything for a short amount of time. as long as you remember you can escape because you do have two legs. no one said you had to be the last one to leave. 5 hours is more than enough time to visit  before dinner, eat, help clean, and then say goodbye.
  7. embrace the uniqueness. this one is not as easy as it sounds but honestly when you are talking about your family to friends and you are looking back on things with those time and distance rose colored glasses you know that you are proud to say that each member of your family is unique and you might even be secretly proud of that - until you walk through the door that is. everyone is different and that includes you.
  8. please check all baggage at the door. remember that you are an adult now so please act like one and stop reverting to pre-adolescent behavior. if it was one of YOUR kids acting that way you'd be all over them in a second.
and finally- if the people in your family act true to form you can control at least your portion of the situation in the following ways:
 change your regular responses to aggravating family members

shrug off insults, challenges, and criticisms.

avoid past betrayals, mistakes, failures – both yours and others’.

don’t expect people to change (unless you change first).

Happy Holidays

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