Family has grown. We used to do a dinner on Christmas Eve. We would gather at the house where Aunt Gertrude and Uncle Ted live. That was a tradition for years. My grandma Helen and her three kids and their children - we started out with just three of us - I was the eldest, then my cousin, Michelle, my brother Patrick and then Michelle’s brother came along. It was another seven years before Edmund and Corey were born and then Rosa and then Kayla.
Daddy’s only sister, Chrissy got married to Kim. Eventually they had four boys and the family continued to grow. Both Patrick and Michelle found partners and married. And the family continued to grow. It seemed like there were more people than room.
It got hard for Trudy to host not one, but two dinners each year. Not that she was supplying all the food. All of the families chipped in. Trudy and Ted had hosted at their house on Christmas Eve for the families of one of their brothers and Christmas day for another. After a while she no longer felt the need to do Christmas day as (I would guess) other family members took over – and I suppose it wasn’t as meaningful to Don’s family as it had been to ours.
Each year Aunt Trudy would tell the family that it would be the last year that she would have it. And then she would call us the following year to make arrangements until one year mom said we could do it at her house. But still, the families all continues to grow. In-law obligations. Too much running around. So one year Michelle had suggested that we start a new tradition. Instead of having a family gathering in December, why not have a pool party in July?
So that’s what we do now. The weather is a lot more inviting for driving. Everyone is more relaxed. There is a Christmas tree next to the gate to the pool and Christmas music plays in the background. We no longer have the ham and turkey, the funeral potatoes and glazed carrots. Hamburgers, hot dogs and salads fill our plates. Instead of bulky sweaters, we have on swimsuits and trunks and enjoy our Christmas much differently than we have in the past.
This Christmas Eve it will just be Roland, Jenna, mom and I. Possibly Biff. It will be the smallest Christmas dinner that I remember. But that can be nice. It’s a matter of attitude more than it is people. Later on today I will call Aunt Trudy and Uncle Ted and see if they would like to attend also. They come to the pool parties – but never come into the pool.