Last night we had a our first family dinner together with our sister Michelle and her family from Florida in town for Thanksgiving. We picked up Babe’s fried chicken and 21 of us gathered around two tables in our dining/entry area. We sat on everything from desk chairs to toy boxes, but we made it work.
The holidays have officially begun around here.
After dinner, the adults ate pie and ice cream with coffee. Meanwhile, the kids ran in and out of the house playing everything from basketball and football to laser tag. There was even a timely recovery of a plate full of whipped cream, heading to “pie” someone in the face. Apparently, the options for fun are endless, when you get together with all eleven of your cousins.
My favorite part?
It was this moment, when I looked up from my folding chair at our makeshift little party and took this photo. In that moment, I realized just how grateful I am to call all these people family. I’m grateful that we can organize a get-together in a couple of hours that brings my parents, my sisters and all our families together under one roof. I’m grateful we know each other’s stories and love each other, to-the-death anyway.
I’m especially grateful for that kind of love.
Because in our family, we don’t always agree. We don’t always abide by the same rules. We don’t even vote for the same presidential candidate (audible gasp).
But we do our best to always love.
There’s a time for stronger self-differentiation. There’s a time for voicing your opinions boldly. There’s a time to debate to try to convince others of your perspective. There may even be a good time for holding each other accountable for poor behavior. But lean in. Let me tell you a secret…
It’s not during the holidays.
No matter how tempting it is to dive in to all the dysfunction. No matter how sure you are that this is the right time to address those skeletons in the closet or dissect the elephant at the dinner table. Even if all signs point to the fact that this is the exact right moment for a family intervention. . .
Just say no.
Instead, set your own boundaries with Love. If you are privileged enough to get to share a meal with your family during this holiday season, remember that as you gather around the table, it’s a time for connection, laughter and literal thanks giving.
Prepare your own heart.
Show up with the intention to value your family more than you value getting your own needs met. Of course, hold healthy boundaries where they are needed, but leverage your health from those boundaries to help, serve and love. Give them your very best.
And trust that they’re giving their best too.
Most of us usually are.
to more Love,
P.S. When it’s all over, you might want to join us at our “Holiday Ready” GNO next week. We’ll be debriefing on our Thanksgiving shenanigans and creating our battle plan for the weeks to come. It’s a great time to get to do it, together.