The Family Thing


Melissa Stagnaro

I absolutely love having my family in town for the holidays. But I can’t tell you how much they are driving me crazy.

No, seriously. I can’t tell you. Since there is a good chance that they’ll read this. And this little sister doesn’t want to get her buttinsky kicked. (Or ratted out to her parents, for that matter.)

Now before anyone (particularly any blood relations who may be currently staying in my house) takes offense to that, let me explain. I do love having my family close. For far, far too long I lived a couple of thousand miles away. I went for a couple of years without seeing my siblings at a stretch. I hated every minute of it. One of the best things about being back to New York is that I see them more often.

But I’m not used to living with them. And no matter how much you love your family, its hard to go back to sharing a bathroom – or a bedroom- with them again. Particularly if one of them feels the need to sleep with the window wide open when the outside temps are hovering right about zero. And another one hogs all the sesame bagels.

But I digress.

It’s just one of those things about family. Those closest too us know what buttons to push. They know what we’re most sensitive about, and exploit it to their own personal gain.

On the flip side, though, they are also the ones who it’s most fun to laze around with, watching movies, playing board games, telling stories and the like. It’s those moments I can’t get enough of. I love sitting around listening to my brother play guitar; gossiping with my sister while we clean up the kitchen after a meal (particularly one involving her amazing meatballs and some nice crusty bread from La Maison Blanche); playing the umpteenth game of Life with my niece; and catching up with my sister-in-law Lisa.

And while there are moments I want to scream and pull my hair out, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because I know that in the back of all of our minds, fueling these silly little squabbles, is the knowledge that at some point everyone has to go back home. And it will be far too long before we see each other again. All I’ll be able to think about is how I wish we’d had more time to do this or do that while they were here.

Every day that I wake up and they are still here, feels like a reprieve. Because I can’t even bear to think about how quiet the house will be once they go.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.