How I Learned to Relax and Enjoy My Family's Quirks
Going home for the holidays is always loaded with emotions.
While there's excitement in heading home, if your family is like mine, having all the siblings and children under one roof can get stressful.
I was looking forward to flying to Florida. My parents love to see all of their grandchildren and it’s a bonus that the weather is usually beautiful, so my little ones can play in the pool or on the beach.
However, once my sister and brother arrived with their significant others and their children, my parents' cozy home soon became as crazy as the Bronx Zoo. This holiday was no different than any of the rest.
The melodrama had begun.
My mother is a clean freak. My husband will tell you that I’ve inherited this trait, as I can’t stand having one thing out of order in my house, but my mother is the queen of obsessive compulsiveness. I kid you not, when I say I'd have no problem eating off of her floors.
This week was no different. The moment we'd come in from a run or woke up in the morning, she'd ask us for the clothes off our back so she could wash them.
I shouldn’t complain, right?
It’s always nice to have my laundry done before I get back from a vacation. But for some reason, this time, it really started to bother me; she couldn’t relax.
I could see how all that tension was shattering her nerves. I kept telling her we’d wash our own clothes, but she was relentless. The obsessiveness escalated. We couldn’t leave our purses on her counters, our iPhones on her tables, eat in any room but her kitchen without her organizing their placement within minutes. God forbid we walk into the house with our shoes on! And if I told her I was going to cook in the kitchen, she had a panic attack that her kitchen would actually get dirty.
And then there was my brother-in-law. He's always on his own time schedule. He wakes up when he wants, oblivious to the fact that it may be almost mid-day. If he’s asked to arrive at noon for lunch, he shows up at 1:30pm. You can definitely say he’s beating to his own drum.
My sister is the princess of beauty products. She is never seen without mascara or a tinted moisturizer. And this time she arrived with a slew of products she wanted to apply on my face. (I told you we were at the beach, right?) Although her face always looks perfect, I prefer a more natural look and rarely wear a lot of makeup.
Just as my sister was pushing her product on me, I was relentless in the kitchen. My family's diet is just not my cup of tea. I arrived fully prepared with my juicer, and headed to the grocery store right away to ensure I was fully stocked.
I prepared every single meal separately from the ones they were preparing and am certain I turned them into closet eaters all week. I’m sure they were relieved when I departed so they could go back to eating all the meat, dairy and Doritos they normally included in their diets.
We all have our quirky qualities that make us who we are. Sure, they're quirky, but the truth is that nothing any of us were doing was really hurting anyone else.
So, instead of being bothered that my mother insisted that every child make up his and her bunk bed in the morning, I needed to remind myself to celebrate what makes her unique. Maybe folding laundry all day is as therapeutic to her as heading out for a run is to me?
As we packed up the car to head to the airport, I got teary that I wouldn’t see my family again until spring break in March. Annoying traits and all, I love them unconditionally.
With the rest of the holiday season just around the corner, don’t forget to relax and enjoy every crazy quirk about each member of your family.
They're the only family you have.