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Over the next two days, families everywhere will gather around the dinner table to share in a special holiday feast. For those who may be dreading the obligatory tradition, I empathize; I also find the holidays torturous.
But if your trepidation to spend the occasion with your own family is due to the threat of boredom, come on over to our place.
This year, among the guests expected to join in the festivities at my aunt’s house are The Super Hero, The Neutered Dog and The Naked Parent.
First, The Super Hero. That would be my sister. For 35 years she has been known for her blond hair. (She’s 37 now, but was bald until she was two-years-old.) Though not a stereotypical “ditzy blond,” my sister has forever been the kind, thoughtful, giving one. In other words, “welcome” was tattooed on her back and “sucker” was stamped across her forehead.
But all that changed last month when she instructed her stylist to dye her long locks red.
No longer the self-proclaimed pushover, when irritated she announces to the world, “Back off. I’ve got Super Hero Hair. Blonds are pushovers; redheads get things done.”
Frankly, I’ve become a bit scared of her and worry that one day she will be “News at 11.”
But the new hair color really is awesome and I can’t wait to see what happens when she caps off the evening with a shot of tequila. (Watch for me on the 11 o’clock report. I’ll be the one saying I knew she would snap one day. It was only a matter of time…)
Next is The Naked Parent. This is my cousin’s five-year-old daughter who can’t decide between marrying her favorite cousin or a McDonald’s fruit and yogurt parfait. She says she loves them equally, and though the parfait can’t work to support her future family, she says it could stay home with the kids while she gets a job.
Eating lunch with my daughter and me recently, Kadi began to tell how she plans to parent her own children when she gets older.
“Know what my kids will wear at home?” she asked. “Nothing. They’ll be naked (pronounced nekkid).”
“And when they go to school, know what they will wear? Nothing. They’ll be buck-naked,” she continued.
“Naked, naked, naked,” she exclaimed, before adding seriously, “That means no clothes.”
The only time Kadi plans to require her kids to put pants on is when they are eating lunch. Dinnertime, she said, will also be a naked event.
Because Kadi’s mom makes her to wear shoes in the house and always has her hair fixed before they walk out the front door, I plan to blame her when we are all at a nudist colony watching little “nekkid” kids playing in the snow on Christmas Eve 2028.
This year, however, I’m sure Kadi will be dressed immaculately; waiting for the day she can be, as my grandmother used to say, naked as a jaybird. Whatever that means.
Next is The Neutered Dog. Sadly this is me.
It was brought to my attention recently that my demeanor has been much more relaxed in the last half of 2008 than ever before. Attempting to track the beginning of this new attitude, it became obvious that the change occurred around the time I was recuperating from a hysterectomy.
“Oh my Lord, I’m like a neutered puppy,” was all I could say.
Apparently, losing my uterus is akin to a Labrador losing its testicles. I’ve gained a little weight, become a bit lazy, spend lots of time laying on the couch and have abandoned my will to fight. Nor do I any longer chase trucks, run away from home or bite people who annoy me.
But they say I will live longer.
I think that’s a fair trade.
No matter how odd the cast of characters at your family’s dinner table, take a deep breath, look around and bask in the realization that you are blessed. You have friends and family who cared enough to want to spend the day with you.
Just as children in Ethiopia may yearn for the excess food on your plate, those spending this day alone would likely trade anything for your place at the table.
And besides, everyone has already spent all of their extra money on monthly bills and Christmas gifts, so there is nothing left to help bail you out of jail if you don’t behave.
From my family to yours, Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad and Happy Hanukkah.