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My last Christmas recap showcased a family that was lacking the four newest members we gained this year. In the spring, both my brother and sister had daughters of their own, my other sister adopted a dog, got married, and is now expecting a baby due in just 5 short months. Me? I moved to a new city away from them all and my mom still isn’t too thrilled with the distance.
This Christmas was the first I woke up in the morning with just my parents. Due to various circumstances, I’ve always had another sibling there to ease the awkwardness. You know that feeling when people sing you happy birthday and you have to sit there in complete discomfort? Multiply that. I sat there in almost complete silence (other than the subtle Christmas music playing on the tv) as my parents watched me unwrap socks, slippers, and some clothes. Then I ran out of packages before them and they immediately felt some guilt for not buying me more (I didn’t need more, but you know how moms can be). It was awkward all around.
Suddenly, my mom went into full panic-mode. My siblings and their families were due to arrive in four hours. The house needed cleaned, food needed cooked, and then the house needed cleaned again. We could’ve got a whole lot more accomplished in a short amount of time but how could my dad pass up watching the Hatfields & McCoys special for the 9th time? My mom and I downed an entire bottle of vodka in the time it took to clean and cook. Slowly, people began arriving. A hug here, a kiss there, and soon enough everyone was spread out on couches watching the battle between West Virginia’s most notorious families.
Much to my mom’s dismay, because of the chaos, dinner was never officially served. Between the naps, crowd, and television movies, plates began piling up around the house. Dogs were accidentally kicked, babies yelled, and fights broke out during card games, but one thing remained constant: my alcohol intake.
When picture time came, each family gathered together as I was again assigned designated photographer. A selfie stick wobbled in my hand as everyone squeezed in front of the tree. When it came time to take grandma home, I had to disappoint her by telling her I was above the legal limit. A new Christmas game: how many things can Natalie mess up by drinking too much?
Don’t get me wrong, I loved this Christmas. I was giddy to give my nieces their presents and sat with the biggest smile on my face when I saw theirs light up as my dad busted through the front door dressed as Santa. Despite how hectic, disorganized, and exhausting the whole day was, I realize I’m extremely lucky to be surrounded by so much love. That is until every single member of my family reminded me that to repeat the wedding pattern of a sibling getting married every two years, I have until 2019 to find a boyfriend, get engaged, and walk down the aisle.
Santa, maybe next year you can help a girl out. Until then, I’ll cherish my time at the kids’ table..