Brother & Sister In-Law::Christmas::Boston::2003
Sadly, I don't have very many pictures (two, to be exact) of our Christmas in 2003.
I actually don't even have any of Husband and I :(
But those were the days before we owned a digital camera, so we 1) didn't take very many pictures, and 2) have probably lost a lot of the pictures we actually have. In fact, this picture may have even been taken with a disposable camera (remember those???)
Christmas in 2003 was at my parents' home in Needham, MA. It was our first Christmas as a married couple, and the first Christmas for my brother and sister in-law (shown in the picture) as a married couple too. We both were married in 2003 - them in May (right?) and us in October. Christmas that year we all gathered together in MA. This is the last (and only) Christmas we have all spent together.
My mom got us all Christmas jammies like she did when we were kids. It was fun :) My other brother and sister in-law had just had their second baby only three weeks before. Now that I'm a mom, I understand how amazing, and probably difficult, that was for them. My sister was living there with her family and she had one daughter that was 1 1/2. My younger brother was 13, but didn't look like it - only months before he was mistaken to be my fiancé :)
I can hardly remember our family like this. It really seems like a lifetime ago. All of our families have grown so much - sister::2 kids, brother::5 kids, brother::6 kids, me::5 kids, brother::married - we've dispersed across the country, and have had many different life experiences.
Our extended family was so new at this Christmas. We were still getting to know each other and still trying to adjust to our new family members - four of us got married in three years, and Husband and I had just been married 1 1/2 months before this Christmas. Everything was still new.
Thinking back to this time and our family experiences through the years since, I wish that I had done better to connect with my in-laws and establish a better foundation for our relationships. 11 years later we could all be a lot more close than we are. We could have loved and tried to understand each other better as we made different life decisions and had different experiences and trials. But - we were all very young when we got mashed together in one big family, and I can't speak for everyone but I sure know that I have learned a whole lot and grown up a lot in those 11 years. Back then I really didn't know much and was really still a kid and was pretty selfish. I have learned a lot (and am still learning) about family relationships and how to love and accept people for who they are no matter what. Sometimes I think I am doing this, but I have learned that actions/words can be interpreted very differently by different people and family relationships are the most sensitive and the most important relationships. And I am learning how to say sorry and how to forgive.
Family is all about showing love - no matter what - and forgiving each other for being imperfect - and being there for each other no matter how far away you live and no matter how long its been since you last saw or spoke to each other. Family is family. Always.
I love my family so much.
It has been a very long time since we've celebrated Christmas with anyone in my family, and every year I miss them. All of them.
This year my parents will be here with us and we are very excited about that.
And thanks to online shopping and Facetime, we can feel a little closer to the rest of the family even though we are thousands of miles apart.
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