My mother's family dissipated after the back-to-back deaths of my Grammy and mother. My aunt Debby kept things up as best as possible, however my Poppie moved to another town and she had to throw in the towel. Now she's in Vancouver with her husband, my cousins followed suit and Poppie passed away.
This depressing series of events has thus lessened my holiday visiting obligations, but I miss them all. I'd gladly make the time to see them and share in the festivities again, if I could. They were never an obligation in the true sense of the word. They were always a joy.
My father's family is in full swing. People are marrying, procreating. Christmas dinner swelled to 24 people, even with my aunt Mary & co. absent. I really cherish these holiday get-togethers. I love my family. They're the sort of people that even if you're not a blood relative, you belong. Warm, basically.
My aunt, the one who hosts it each year with my uncle, worries about it expanding beyond their means. And it's a reasonable concern. New in-laws, new children, all needing seats and a spot at the table. Everyone's always welcome, but sadly as people move or make their own families and stop coming, it's likely to be the only way the dinner will be sustainable.
And even more sadly, if the Dude and I become parents, I see us being two more who drop out of the dinner, as travelling hours on the highway in the winter in a rental car to zoom about every family we need to see with an infant or toddler is not my idea of a happy Christmas.
So we must make the most of the years we have left. Though although I want to have children, I don't think we're 100% decided on it.
As for the Dude's family, his father and stepmom will likely be spending future Christmases up here, where more of the grandchildren are. But who knows for certain. They're snowbirds and go to Arizona for the winter to bask in the dry heat. I think of them in February when I trudge through the slush.
The Dude's mom stays put in her small village home outside of the city we grew up in. It's charming. She'll likely always be available for a Christmas visit. We've spent the last two Christmas eve's at her place.
People have asked us about making holiday traditions as a couple. Truth be told, it's too early. Our lives, well, we haven't picked a solid direction for the two of us to go in yet. I don't know what will be best for us. I just know that the current status quo is probably on borrowed time. Sometimes growing up is a bummer.