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Family Get-Togethers
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Christmas Day our family (a collection of near-strangers only tenuously related) will get together and pretend we're a real family and (for me, at least), pretend we're having fun. I'd rather watch football.

The cast of characters: two brothers at the hub. Definitely blood related. One brother's two children by adoption, two more by birth. Plus two grandchildren, adopted when their mother (herself an adoptee) took a powder. Each of them had a different father.

The daughter has herself just had a new baby. Her attitude, if it runs true to form, will be that she is now an expert on all things relating to birthing and raising children. The child is 6 weeks old.

I'm expecting this situation, because when she became a teacher--in fact, early on in teacher training--she instantly was the font of all knowledge on the subject of education of elementary school children. No older people need express any opinions or insights, thank you.

She comes from a long line of know-it-alls (my husband shares the family trait), so she comes by it honestly. There's a certain strength in being so bright, so certain, so right; there's also a terrible weakness. Let us hope she never sees the dark side.

Also there will be lots of other unrelated people, long-time friends and family by marriage (like me). We'll eat dry turkey, bland stuffing, yams with marshmallows and lime jello with fruit in it. We'll open presents, with the children eyeing each others' gifts, gauging who got more "stuff" than whom. The adults will judge each other by the monetary value of the gifts received. And the new mother will entertain us all with the painful details of delivery, the joys of nursing and the certitudes of child upbringing. Ain't tradition grand?

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