My family had its Christmas celebration today. Almost all of it was fun. Everyone seemed satisfied with their presents from everyone else. I gave all the adults in the family framed pictures that Ian or I had taken - I think almost everyone liked theirs. Some were bigger hits than others, of course :) One of my nephews wanted to play Scrabble, so a bunch of us (including the other nephew) had a game of Scrabble. It would have been better if everyone could have played - there were 11 of us, which makes it difficult even if people are teamed up. I wasn't going to say no to my nephews, though :) At one point, my nephew said that "it would be bad if [he] got no vowels". I said something like "oh yes, it's bad when you get no values" (I'm a bit dyslexic - I substitute words like that all the time). Everyone laughed and laughed :)
No Christmas in my family would be complete, of course, without crying and some conflict :) This year, it was me who ran away crying. We were going to play this other game, and there was part of it that I couldn't do because my memory is much worse than it used to be. My sister took a "this way or no way" approach at the time and I ended up bawling from a combination of being more emotional than usual and having problems dealing with the fact that I can't do stuff I could do before. I'm glad I'm not working right now - I can only imagine how many times I'd end up crying in the bathroom because I can't do stuff. How professional is that? :(
Later on, my sister ended up quite angry and there was a big argument. I don't like conflict and so it was very uncomfortable. Things are better now, though. One good thing that came out of that discussion was that we all had a chance to say what we were feeling - both good and bad. It cleared the air a lot, and set the precedent for speaking about things early. That's a good thing, because everyone in my family has a tendency to bottle things up and then explode in a million pieces of anger - it would be better if we didn't do that.
In some ways this Christmas was different than previous Christmases, as least for me. I'm very aware that the number of Christmases I have is limited, and that's so hard. I treasured this celebration all the more for that. I love my family so very much, and I'm going to miss them a lot when I go back home. I haven't felt this way since I moved to Ontario in 1996. I'm really, really glad that I was able to come to Edmonton to see everyone. It's been a pretty hard year for many people in my family, and it's been good to just be able to see and hug them. It's not like I can make anything better for them of course (if I could make things better, I'd start with this darn cancer), but it makes me feel better to be with them.
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