I don’t know how it is for most families but for ours there’s been a pattern of wacky behavior this time of year. I imagine the stories are just about the same, the cast of characters a little different. There will always be the large elephant(s) in the room that either go undiscussed or are discussed with the aid of the seasons finest adult beverages. What is supposed to be a time of festive gathering turns into the dramatics of a room full of people whose sole purpose for the night is to make everyone as miserable as they are. It’s tiring but it’s family.
This year is a bit different as there are actual issues worth discussion. Generally, it’s just a whirlwind of craziness that always ends up being a battle of voices screaming about who has it worse. Now, however, we are in the midst of a real and serious family drama of which no one has a clue which way will turn out. We’re at the point now where we’re all hoping for the best but expecting the worst and where the obvious tragedy lies in the fact that there are children involved, children who have seen and experienced far to much in their limited years. We ‘re stuck in a sit and wait moment which feeds into the incessant gossip and instinct to use this circumstance to better ones own standing within the family. It’s doubly exhausting.
My immediate family is where the true impact lies. We’re pivoting toward the very real possibility that we’re going to lose one of our members to her own weaknesses and self sacrifice. She seems willing to sacrifice that structure that has gotten her through some of the more difficult moments most people would ever need to go through. And she’s sacrificing it all for a cause that has everyone baffled.
My approach has been to make sure that, despite what happens, we maintain at least a little level of communication. I can’t help her see things my way, but I can help her work through the problems of her situation that I know she can see. Everything I know about her tells me that she’s sees what we all see, she’s just holding on to some fantastical hope that all will be right in the end. The rest of the family knows that this is not going to happen, we have to sort of stand out ground on this one, but there’s nothing that we’re going to be able to do or say to sway her. She’ll need to come to her own understanding of what is at stake here. For both herself, her kids, her family and her future.
We’re off to our family Christmas Eve get together. I guess we’ll find out how many elephants we’re let out of their cages. I hope it’s not too interesting tonight!