It’s boxing day here in the UK. S is still sleeping, mum in-law is getting her computer set up by dad-in-law, and the cats are insisting I love them.
Compared to previous years, it was an early night. We were in bed by 10:00 after a brilliant, fun packed day. Lots of presents, lots of food. A migraine caught early meant I could enjoy the night.
Just like every year, I missed my family. My aunt’s gingerbread houses, my grandmother’s pecan pie. My mom’s laugh.
This year I had gifts to open from my dad’s family for the first time in nearly thirty years too. S and I opened them Christmas morning with MiL sitting on the bed with us, and a few tears were shed along with the wrapping.
Through all the family madness, gifts and love-chaos, I’ve learned something about myself: I’m an introvert. I grew up an only child, with no cousins or such. I spent loads and loads of time alone in a kind of nomadic life. I could go whole days without talking to anyone. This means I’m used to quiet: silence was a favored companion. To this day I still go days without talking to anyone but S.
So at Christmas, when the 13 of us gather at S’s family’s house, I’m far out of my element. They’re a noisy, happy, singing bunch. No drama, no wierdness, no bickering.
Though I hate to admit it, I got grumpy yesterday. The approaching but un recognized migraine was probably part of it. Missing family probably had to do with it. Lack of time in silence had to do with it. Being overwhelmed had to do with it. And I got cranky.
I apologized to S after I pulled myself together, and girlfriend-in-law, S and I all ended up in the quiet lounge chatting, which worked well.
The truth is, I love being with S’s family. And sometimes I’m like a little kid who needs a nap to deal with all the extra stimulus.
My ten year old self would be baffled to know I would need to learn to balance my love of solitude with a ginormous loving family.
What a wonderful issue to have.