Ho, Ho, Ho & Hell No To Family Drama During The Holidays…

Every year I feel like Clark Griswald trying to make everyone happy.  My husband jumps in hanging the lights and trimming the tree to help me transform WorthamWorld into as close to a Norman Rockwell Christmas as we can get.  One of the best gifts I’ve found this holiday season is my free holiday photo frame app.  I’ve had hours of fun with this app and lots of laughs! 

My niece, Leigh Ann Blais picked up her “sailor” the day before she was scheduled for surgery as his mother and grandmother traveled to Texas from Florida to visit Latest Little Pawner, Madyson.  Young Maddie keeps the entire family laughing with her personality that can go from giggling laughter to squealing screaming.  All of us enjoy the many facets of what will make Maddie laugh and do whatever we can to keep her from crying around here.  Our twins have been around Maddie everyday since she was born at Harris Hospital in Fort Worth two years ago.  The three of them are very close but when Maddie throws a fit–the looks on their faces can be priceless.  Having a baby around for the first time in years has given my twin and I much joy and loads of fun.

My twin and I do all of the Christmas shopping and trying to keep the gifts “even” among all three of our adult children isn’t nearly as easy as you might think.  The usual “so and so got more gifts or a better gift or that’s what I wanted” petty squabbles every year are my least favorite memory and I’m certain, Cindy’s too.  Our three adult children compete all the time.  This year though- I think all three of them are as close to being “even” on the number of gifts as Cindy and I have been able to get to yet.  We both pride ourselves on keeping tabs on the gift lists because we know our adult children “compare” gifts.  We don’t like it but, it’s a yearly occurrence. 

The children are often the cause of much stress from November to December every year.  My husband and I would love a drama free Christmas as would Cindy and Steve Daniel but…it hasn’t happened yet!  Both of our husbands are calm and quiet which (for those who know us) is completely different from our personalities.  

While rescheduling a wedding from TDCJ Jester III Unit to TDCJ Darrington Unit today for Cheryl on December 27 at 10AM after dealing with one crisis after the next with my niece who had gastric bypass surgery this morning, my twin sister and I drove to Denton to meet her mother in law and baby Maddies great grandmother for the first time.  I’m sure the visit was exactly ideal for everyone involved because it was at a hospital but, Janet and her mom finally had a chance to meet our Latest Little Pawner, Madyson Élizabeth Blais. 

Many loyal readers recall the blog of Hospitals, Hilarity and Hope a few years ago where a few of my feuding family members finally buried the hatchet.  It happens at hospitals more than anyone knows because life is short and there isn’t a better example of how precious life is than a hospital or funeral.

As I listened to Dan Fogelberg on my radio and wondered how many families would be spending Christmas in the hospital as well as how far many had traveled to visit a sick relative, I thought about Janet and her mother.

Their trip to the hospital was a joyous occasion because they finally would hold and hug the granddaughter they had come to know from the many pictures posted of her on our social media pages and see her Navy son, Alex for the holidays. 

Many readers tell me they’ve actually watched all three of my grandnieces “grow up right before their eyes” thanks to FB, Twitter and Instagram.  Cindy and I have been posting our Little Pawners photos for years and the truth is that many of our connections have watched them grow up.  

Now that Maryssa & Makenna are 13, it’s far more difficult to get them to pose when we want them to for Holiday photos.  They will do it but only if they feel “photo ready.”  Cindy loves taking photos of her three granddaughters and doesn’t care if anyone is “photo ready” or not. 

With so many folks traveling to be home for Christmas, Dan Fogelberg’s line “the audience was Heavenly but the traveling was Hell” was probably true for more families than not.  The audience being their families and the traveling, truly Hell for more than a few folks! 

Coming home for Christmas isn’t easy when you have children or elderly family members traveling with you.  My first flight from California to Texas with my son years and years ago really was Hell because I was unaware he had an ear infection at the time.

We drive 300-500 miles a week for Texas Twins Events, Texas Twins Treasures and The Pawning Planners ourselves and know how hard it is to be in the suvs for hours on end.  Traveling with a senior is no easy task.  We drove our grandmother from CA to TX and back again for 15 years so we have a pretty good idea about the journey and the many stops you might not be making if you were alone on a road trip.  

My brother in law, Steve Daniel is a truck driver and rarely makes pit stops because “all this stopping is ruining his timeline from Point A to Point B.”  Steve times every trip and prides himself on limiting stops which makes traveling with him a real riot when I’m thirsty and I have to go to the bathroom.  It makes him crazy!  By the time Christmas “rolls around,” Cindy and I have had little sleep from either wrapping gifts or driving to deliver them to Senior Centers, Families, & Soup Kitchens. 

We are often completely exhausted on Christmas Day.  This year though, we plan on going to the movies with our dad and taking a break.  We love going to the movies on holidays and skipping the kitchen clean up or cooking that takes up the better part of the day that should be spent enjoying family.  

In a matter of minutes, the gift opening has come and gone leaving our children and grandchildren bored and ready to do something new which is a perfect opportunity to get out of the house for me.  

It’s amazing how much Planning and Preparation is put into Christmas to be over so quickly.  I leave my tree and lights up long after Christmas because I enjoy the warm glow of our tree twinkling in a corner alone after all of the gifts have been passed out.

As usual, we made the trip to Six Flags for Holiday In The Park with my cousin Cynthia and her three children this year.  It’s an annual event that we all look forward to with our schedules that often prevent us from visiting during the year.

Leigh Ann and Alex were preparing for her surgery this morning.  Surgery during the holiday isn’t “ideal” for anyone but we “rolled” with the scheduling and the location because it was over an hour from Fort Worth to Presbyterian Hospital in Denton.

As we sat in the parking lot at Harris Presbyterian Hospital this morning waiting on Janet and her mother to meet us while Leigh Ann was in pre-op, I answered emails and scheduled upcoming events while wondering if this “Dream surgery” for Leigh Ann would be all it was cracked up to be.  I had read the dangers and was aware of possible complications while praying for no complications.

Janet arrived to wait for Alex to meet her in the lobby with the baby, we spent a few minutes visiting and talking about the baby.  Since Alex was spending the night at the hospital, we decided to have lunch and give Janet and her mom an opportunity for Madyson to spend the night with them at their hotel.  

A hospital isn’t a place for a two year old.  Cindy and I ran to Ross to buy a few outfits and returned to the hospital.  Janet and Madyson took to each other right off the bat.  Waiting two years to see her only grandchild is a long time for anyone and I’m so glad that Janet and her mom are finally getting an opportunity to spend time with my grandniece. 

I juggle a crazy schedule nearly everyday trying to accommodate everyone and believe me—making clients happy is far easier than making my own family happy during the Christmas season.  Oh sure, our kids look happy in festive photos but forcing them all to get along isn’t as easy as you might think because these happy, happy, happy adult children argue all of the time and continue to claim so and so is the favorite or always gets their way around here which couldn’t be further from the truth.  

Competing kids and chaos ensue when you throw a group of people together who are often jealous of one another.  My sister and I wish everyone would realize that you don’t get to choose a new family and you should work harder at getting along with the one you have.  

Convincing our adult children and their spouses of the values close knit families share continues to be an ongoing argument rather than a civil conversation.  It’s a “work in progress” to make everyone to get along all of the time but, we are committed to it because we spent our childhood with our cousins and continue to have a close knit relationship today.

At a Christmas Party last week, while answering questions about weight loss, I told several friends that Cindy and I would be keeping our weight off by using Vasayo.  

Since everyone is interested in weight loss, we will be adding a link on this site.  After a yearlong weight loss journey, the last thing we want to do is gain weight back that took so much effort to get off for my sister and I.

I’m glad that we not only had an opportunity to see Janet and meet her mom for a few days but also that things turned out the way we wanted creating fun memories.  Cindy and I had Friday open on my books to take Madyson to Chuck E Cheese and finally get that photo with Santa we’ve been trying to get all month- the look on her face is (as usual) priceless. 

For more than 30 years, we have taken our children and grandchildren to Six Flags, Chuck E Cheese, Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Carnivals & Circus to keep them entertained and although the grandtwins and older children have lost interest in Chuck E Cheese, Maddie usually loves it unless she’s too tired or bored.  In this photo taken by her mom, I’m pretty focused on not driving over anyone and have learned to “ease up on the corners.”  Down the road, I’m hoping our children and grandchildren look back on the many visits to places we took them for fun to give them something to look forward to or even remember the many times we were tired of wanted to go home but put them first.  They’ve learned that a visit to Chuck E Cheese can involve 2-3 hours of non stop action for not only the kids but the adults too. 

Christmas only comes once a year.  Cherish those moments and enjoy your family even if a few of them can get on your nerves occasionally…being home for the holidays with family and friends is a gift that many who are alone wish they had an opportunity to share with someone.

My dog, Mr Foxy Wortham has spent the last two weeks searching for food among the gifts and “got lucky” finding his own gifts under the tree last night so I’m off to Petsmart to replace them (yet again) and hope all of our friends and families have a wonderful holiday season full of laughs…