Holidays have come and gone, but winter continues to bring warmth and, well, lots of people. Last night we had an impressive collection of shoes at the door, and had to add two leaves to the table to accommodate the crowd of what we consider our extended family.
My honey and I have plenty of biological family — but all those brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews live far away. So our friends and the friends of our children are our at-home extended fam.
Young adult kids are still visiting for the holidays, so conversation at our gatherings is multi-generational-lively. Last night we talked about Obama’s speech on gun control (can you believe that Fox accused him of faking his tears?). We talked about circus performances (one of the kids is a circus instructor) and the intersection of acrobatics and dance. We talked about biking in the cold weather (several of us are bikers), the demise of a local Indian restaurant (which we all loved) and whether there was enough salad (yes).
And then there were a few rounds of Boggle in front of a blazing fire. Wow, these kids are smart.
Over the past several weeks, there have been all sorts of gatherings at the “401 Cafe,” aka our home and kitchen. Old friends from the 1970s came for brunch one day, recalling the days when living off the land, and living communally, was the norm. A nephew and niece with their charming toddler girls visited one afternoon to share warm family memories, and despite the years between visits it felt just as comfortable and natural to have them here as it would if they lived down the street and visited every day. Young friends of our 20-something kids, friends who make me want to be sure they have their hats on when they go out in the cold, liven up the house with laughter around board games and art-making, music-playing and group-think crossword puzzles. Close friends join us for pre-new-year’s cocktails and just a bit of reflection on the past year, then disperse well before midnight because bedtime comes earlier these days.
Then there are times at friends’ houses. Thanksgiving in the shed. Pre-Christmas with three families worth of parents and children all together at a time in our lives when we are just getting accustomed to living apart.
‘Tis the season for entertaining, for cherishing friends and family, for sharing the warmth of the home fire.
‘Tis the season for love.