It was a Christmas break that none of us expected as it found us entirely by ourselves for most of the nearly three-week period when my nuclear family was in the same general place at the same general time with about the same general amount of free time. What we ended up doing was a whole lot of hanging out in the same general place at the same general time and often all going out and doing something together. It was both nothing extraordinary and something amazing.
Petty differences that plagued us for years have dissolved almost entirely into faux arguments to recall days of yore. I don't know that I could ever articulate how unexpected it is to have that happen within my lifetime. My father and his sister didn't mend fences until just one year before he died at a tragically young(ish) age. I don't expect to ever have a relationship of any kind with one brother. I will always only infrequently see my other two brothers. (My sister will be stuck with me forever.) Only far later in life, long after my father's death, did our relationships become cemented.
My senior year of college, the five "kids" were all at my father's for Christmas. I do not remember the visit fondly. You can see that from the photos taken at the time. I can see it in my mind without looking for any photos. In light of my parents' divorce, my mother was not there so it was a gathering of a nearly complete family that had been beaten and battered. I'm guessing you understand why I don't need no stinkin' photos.
The past three weeks, we've seen some really great movies, we've enjoyed some fabulous meals, we've had friends over, we've nearly escaped from prison, we've taken death marches, and we've done nothing at all. As Christmases go, it was far more chill than we've seen over the years. As families go, it's the most chill I've ever known, and I'm happy to have more photos for my life album.