The holidays are a time when one gets in touch with relatives, either through cards or phone calls or visits. This year for the Christmas holiday I'm visiting one of my brothers, his wife, his two daughters with their husbands, and three grand-nephews. My family and I live spread out over the west coast of the US. We all have diverse opinions, beliefs, and activities. There are ten years between me and the next sibling, so I've grown up feeling like an only child in a family of six. Some times I don't know how to respond in family situations, so I sit quietly and listen and watch. It's been in the last decade that I've been more open to them, coming out about my orientation, speaking up about my political views, and talking about my spiritual path. In some ways that has caused some turmoil, but my family's ancestral history is that of "don't ask don't tell." It's a way for the family to get along, but in my mind it's also keeps the family from speaking on important issues. If there is no conflict, there is no growth.
The home I will be visiting is a loving home. My brother Grant and I have had a special relationship for many years. He was 15 when I joined the family and his family and I have grown together. I'm really looking forward to seeing him and his wife Yvonne (who has been like a big sister to me) in their home in the snow (if there's any left!) tomorrow. It will be a joyous holiday.
The photo above was taken when I was 6. I'm standing between my parents and my siblings are from the eldest at the far right counterclockwise to the next youngest at the left. Twenty-six years span the ages. My father retired from work when I was a sophomore in high school. Next year I will be the same age as my mother when she had me. My parents are gone, but I have all my siblings. I count myself fortunate to have them for I know people who have no one of their family to turn to.
I hope you have someone in your life to love and to hold precious this holiday. Merry Christmas.