Friday, December 22, 2006

To Grandmother's house we go

For the first time in three years, we will be heading to Montreal for Christmas. I'm pretty excited about it.

I'm excited because we'll be spending Christmas with my whole family -- my sister and brother-in-law are flying in from California; my other sister will be in from Waterloo; my parents will be there; my aunt and uncle are flying in from North Carolina; and my one cousin is flying in from Texas. And of course, we'll all converge in my 92-year-old grandmother's top-floor duplex for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas day brunch. The only people missing will be my other cousin and his girlfriend (who also live in North Carolina) because she's a nurse and has to work on Christmas Day.

Now, this all sounds very complicated -- and it is, sort of. Because if you read that last paragraph correctly, you'll realize that the only person who ACTUALLY LIVES in Montreal is my grandmother. Everyone else is either flying or driving in from somewhere else. That's because Christmas brunch at my grandmother's has been a tradition since before I was born -- and at 92 years of age, my grandmother (whom I love dearly) decides that she does not want to leave her house for Christmas. Translation: she'll travel to Toronto any other time of year (which is also more convienient for my aunt and uncle, because my aunt's family is in the GTA), but Christmas is at her house. So every year, the family, or those who can, travel to her.

Once upon a time, we all lived in Montreal. But starting in 1990, we started to move away. First my family moved to the Toronto-area, then my aunt and uncle's family moved to North Carolina. And then "us kids" grew up (and in my case, started having kids) and, in some cases, moved even further away. So, as much as a little part of me wants to complain about the fact that if I want to spend Christmas with family, I can't spend it in my own house, my grandmother is accomplishing a pretty big feat by her stubborness -- family is flying in from far and wide to spend it together in her home.

A little part of me would rather stay home, spend the morning with Austin and cook up a big feast to feed whomever was willing to come over rather than driving 500 km, spending two nights in a hotel and then driving 500 km back. But I'm happy to be spending Christmas with the people I truly care about -- Ryan, Austin and my family. Who knows how many more years we'll all be able to get together. My grandmother is 92 afterall.

And that, is what makes Christmas truly special.

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