Somewhere in my family, there is a picture of all my cousins (ages 13 to 38 plus spouses and significant others) gathered around a birthday cake while my 18 year old cousin is about to blow out the candles. But, in one picture, you see me with a camera in my hand. I took a picture of the opposite side of the cake from what everyone else has a picture of as it was right in front of my face. I saw a picture from National Geographic where a guy went in the water to get ten inches away from the face of a Hippo to take a photo of its eyeballs popping up on top of the water. That is how close I was,
Christmas is over, even though the Christmas season is not over, and I am all birthday’d out. There are several birthdays in the family that are on, before, or just after Christmas and my family feels that Christmas babies have the short end of the stick. Therefore, the week of Christmas is a whole week of parties. My cousin brought his girlfriend home to our home state for the holidays. She was raised Jehovah’s Witness (she is not now) and never ever had a birthday party before so he decided that it would be cool to have one for her. So we had a great time, with cake, ice cream, appetizers, and all the usual birthday fare plus dinner.
Then the next night was Christmas Eve. In years gone by, we all piled on in at my Great Grandmother’s house but since that awesome lady is no longer with us and has passed on, there really are no formal plans. My brother goes to spend time with his girlfriend’s family, and whoever is milling around with nothing to do goes to my parents house or my aunt’s.
THEN of course there is Christmas Day which starts off at one’s immediate family’s house with presents and food, continues on to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for a proper breakfast, dessert, and more food. Then some people split off and go to the “other side of the family.” We go to my cousin’s house where my dad’s side of the family gathers. By this time, my siblings have already been to their spouse or significant other’s family’s house in between brunch at the Grandparents and dinner at the cousins house. After this, if you don’t think you are ready to explode left, some people have plans with friends.
Just when you think it is all over, it is time for Emily’s party. The day after Christmas has always been when my cousin’s birthday has been celebrated. All the people who spent Christmas at my Grandparents are reunited a day later, plus people from her mother’s side of the family. More cake, ice cream, pizza, left over cookies from Christmas. This year, there was also a small chocolate fountain and taco dip.
So, then we got a break on Saturday. Today I just came home again. This time we went to Aunt Betty’s (mom’s sister) and she had dinner because she “never has everyone over and what a great time to do it.” So we had lasagna, more cake (not recycled from any of the previous gatherings), and side dishes. I could barely eat. Not because I really had a lot to eat today leading up to it, but I think it is all a cumulative effect that has built all week.
Now, all the people who don’t have some wild party to go to will be reunited yet again for New Year’s Eve. The aunts have already discussed who is bringing what. I don’t even want to think about it, or I will explode. Of course, there will be corny jokes all that day about “I am not eating for the rest of the year,” or “I won’t see you for another year, etc.”
…And then two weeks later we do it again for another birthday. Ugh. And I thought it was great having too much to celebrate instead of nothing. I will eat nothing but steamed vegetables in preperation.