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I have a unique family, to say the least. I was born into a very religious family. Life is ‘by the Bible’ or it’s wrong, case closed. Certain members of my family like to be unforgiving and hold grudges for anywhere from several months to several decades, I kid you not. I do believe in God, but I am more spiritual than religious. I will definitely admit that I am the black sheep of the family.

I was disappointed not to see my father. He’s been going through a lot of health issues, especially this last year, dealing with cataract surgeries, cancer, and a stroke. Oh, and his brother died a couple months ago. He recently was nasty towards my mother, who has been helping him get to his doctor appointments (my mom and dad divorced when I was 15, and he really doesn’t have much family left, so they are still somewhat friends). My mom can be a bit unforgiving, at times, she wouldn’t even invite my dad to the Christmas party, because he has not apologized to her. Really? SERIOUSLY? It’s Christmas! Geez…with everything the man has had happen this last year, it would seem like some forgiveness should be in order, if not, lay down personal vendettas to enjoy a Christmas meal together.

How can you be Christian but bend the instruction manual to suit your own wants. This is the first Christmas I have not seen my father, and it hurts. And, they wonder why I’m not as ‘religious’ as they are.

I am who I am, but I do have to watch what I say around my family. The family members in my generation are all more relaxed, but the older ones you have to be careful of. It does not take much to have to endure a half-hour lecture about how I need to get my life right with God. OK (coming from people who see me only at Christmas, have no clue where I live, or what I do from one day to the next).

They wonder why I choose to chase the little kids around, playing games with them, and making them laugh and scream. I’d much rather listen to that noise than my family’s merciless judgment about this and that. Playing with the kids has it’s problems, too, because one child is bound to get hurt somehow (and that will be my fault, too).

I will admit, though, I made it through this year’s Christmas without one negative thing said to me (Grandpa complaining about my nose ring doesn’t count). I was quite surprised that everyone was complimenting me on my baked beans…lol. I hate baked beans, but my family loves them. All I did was under-cook some bacon and saute red onions with the bacon, then throw the mixture in the beans and bake for a little while. I’ve made the recipe exactly two times in my lifetime. Hell, I even ate some because it was so good.

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Sigh…back to the nose ring. I’ve had piercings off and on for years. But, my grandfather can say anything he wants to. He’s my grandpa. Maybe I should have showed him my latest tattoo, the one that says ‘Jesus’ in Kanji. I figure if I’m going to put a man’s name on my body, why not The One who gave me this life? I’ve had several piercings over the years, but the only one still in place is the nose piercing. My cousin has a facial piercing and tats, and my brother has a nipple piercing, ears pierced, and multiple tattoos. That is three out of five of the grandkids. My adult son, a facial piercing, my adult daughter, multiple piercings and tattoos.

Ahh…such is life. Now that I’m done with the family rant of ‘gloom’, hopefully I can finish out the Christmas season in a more positive mood.