We have a policy in our family that sais that nobody should spend Christmas alone.  As such, we have an open door policy that welcomes, year after year, a variety of people to join us for the holidays. Some years are busier than others but there is always someone who’s in need of an embrace. I am lucky to have been born into a wonderfully loving family.

Truth be told, some of it is innate and some of is improved upon.  We’ve taken our individual and collective life experiences and consciously chosen to use them as a means to grow – closer together.  Now, really, truly, when you think about, as much as spousal and family relationships can nourish and nurture, they can also challenge.  It’s designed that way. I mean can you think of anyone that can get under your son more then your baby sister? or your husband ? These are the relationships that force us to grow. They have the potential to expand our experience of intimacy exponentially – if we allow.  We can gain our greatest wisdom if we open ourselves to the challenges in the toughest relationships. Often, these family relationships are so ripe with frustration and misunderstanding it can be maddening- and, easier to just not bother.  I’ve seen friendships come and go, people move away, grow apart and move on – but there’s something incredibly powerful (and yes, definitely maddening) about blood bonds that makes them almost impossible to destroy, even when they have been physically cut off. Likening it to amputation, it is said that even when a limb has been removed, amputees still feel phantom pain.  The lessons that we are meant to learn in theses relationships will follow us wherever we go like a music player stuck on repeat.

I know my family is far from perfect but I know that it’s way more of a family than some people have.  We’ve held hands by our dying loved ones bedside, through the most difficult of times – that’s the power of family.  And these are the people I want by my side, faults and all, when I face my greatest challenges. If you are blessed with even a smidget of the faintest family tie, know that some people don’t even have a place to call home with a family to break bread with or embrace  during the holiday season or on a day to day to basis.  You have been graced with an opportunity some people pray and yearn for, don’t waste it. I say opportunity because that’s just what it is, an opportunity to grow and to connect. An opportunity to nurture a faint smidget that has the potential to grow into something sustainable and nourishing.

“The best restaurant in the world: family, where we nourish not only the stomach but most of all, the heart, with loads of visceral love.”  Fabio Rossi, my beloved travel-spirited cousin.

Merry Christmas…wherever you are and with whomever you find yourself.


Note: that the quality and coherency of this post is tainted by the constant interruptions my none other than: family.  That’s what I get for crashing at my parents wanting to spend extra time with my beloveds this Christmas… took me 3 hours to put this together when it normally would take 20 minutes. Over the span of three hours, I saw pictures of my dad and uncle: 1950’s and 60’s school pictures, the bracelet my mom’s boss gave her for Christmas, watched my parents cat (at their request) chasing snowflakes on the patio,  the new brand of cereal they’re eating, my dad’s cool mini electric razor that conveniently follows you in the shower, heard french Christmas music blaring on an old radio (my mom singing in chorus), heard a debate over which bottle of bubbly should be brought to my brother’s for lunch and as we speak, the most beautifully wrapped box of chocolates my 62 year old mom has ever seen….  You know what … I wouldn’t have changed a single minute of it.  Magic moments!  all of them!