Christmas this year was really, really nice. Everything about it…from Christmas Eve to Christmas Dinner was just enjoyable.
I was so very pleased; I've been hosting Christmas dinners at my house since 1993 -- and I think this meal was the best one yet. It just tasted so good! The kids opening their gifts Christmas morning was lots of fun; in the afternoon for the second round with the rest of the family was a bit hectic and chaotic -- more so than it has ever been, but still I think everyone was pleased with their gifts. Next year though, I will be playing "Santa" and we'll all open gifts like we usually do; the whole "free for all" is not exactly what the family enjoys, and it got a little out of hand this year after dinner. That was probably the only downside to the day. But if that's the only downside -- it's not all that bad!
It's always good to have family get togethers and have everyone really just enjoy each other's company. It's been quite some time since I've had an argument with my parents -- partly because I don't see them that often -- and partly because I've made conscious decisions over the years to really think about what I'm going to be upset about, and try to analyze whether it's something that's even worth discussing. I'm not always right, I don't have to win all the time or every conversation; it's been a growing process for me over the years to just let things go. Last night was the first time in maybe two years, that we had an argument at the house. And while I didn't want it to become one, and had chosen not to voice my feelings about the subject -- the topic came up in conversation, and I couldn't stop myself -- out it came. But…there's an upside to everything. While I could've easily fed into some of the things that were being said, I stopped for a minute -- and said aloud "Let's not escalate this…". Something I would never have done a few years back. And my Dad, who normally I would've gone "toe to toe" with and yelled back and forth with -- also pulled back. He wasn't yelling or anything - he was just talking loudly like I was -- but when I lowered my voice, he did as well. You know what this means? We've evolved!! It's so easy to fall into familiar habits and personalities and while there's nothing wrong with that either, it's sometimes better to take a minute and just pull back. And we did. And the night ended up well…and it was a good thing I suppose, because where I don't see my family all that often, we don't have the "day to day" interactions with one another that most families have, so we don't necessarily have the same little arguments or discussions that most families go through; so it provided an opportunity to sort of clear the air in a way that you don't normally want to do because it's such a special occasion to see each other.
I'm glad that my recently acquired sense of "not sweating the small stuff" has worked; this is not to say that I don't slip into my normal behaviours from time to time -- but it does mean that I've grown as a person, and that we are all capable of change. It takes a lot of conscious effort, but eventually - it will hopefully be ingrained as "me". Sort of like my Boston accent; I lost it by conscious effort for broadcasting and theatre -- but if I'm really excited about something, it will come out from time to time. It doesn't mean that I'm faking it; it just means that the one conscious effort I used years ago to speak properly, is now ingrained as who I truly am now. I'm hoping that I will eventually always think about not escalating situations and rising to the challenge of an argument with my family "just because I can" -- as a part of me forever.
I think it's definitely going to take some more time and work….but isn't that what life is all about?