Through their absence or presence, families coalesce during the holiday season. These annual gatherings are defined by who’s coming and who’s missing. Our clans provide the curriculum for Team 101.
The Shutterfly photo collage and those quirky letters stuffed inside of Christmas cards provide our first preview of family adaptation. “My, the kids have grown!” is a predictable refrain when your vantage point happens once a year. The updates are everywhere marking vacation highlights, career accomplishments, births and deaths. Frozen in time, the holidays have a way of stopping the world from spinning just long enough to measure who is still on the team.
Gifts under the tree and chairs around the dinner table illuminate the realities of change. Newborns become the center of attention. In-laws welcome outlaws. Deaths and divorces empower new traditions. The team is in a constant state of flux despite our natural wish to keep things the same. Yet, we somehow find a way to pause and take stock of the current state. We reminisce about where we’ve been, anticipate where we’re going, and savor the moment we are so lucky to have.
Our families define the spirit of the holidays. Whether anchoring a ritual, celebrating togetherness, creating something new, or coping with a change, these annual gatherings of kin teach our life lessons. May we all enjoy a warm, safe and loving December celebration and a peaceful, prosperous and fun 2012.