When we talk about December, really we're talking about winter break. We're talking about that time when almost all the relatives somehow find a break in their terribly busy schedules to come back from whatever far-flung place they've moved to and congregate in someone's living room. You see that cousin you haven't seen in ages, which is amazing because normally you see the ten-year-old cousins that run around shooting each other with Nerf bullets. You see your grandmother, who you saw a few months ago but it's still exciting, until she berates you for only washing your hair every other day. And then you see your aunts rolling their eyes at you behind her back.
It's a grab bag. A jostled-up collection of moments, memories, and traditions. It pretends to proceed in an orderly fashion, but it doesn't really. Grown-up sisters talking together move from job promotions to their childhood to their colleauges to how their mother won't stop blaming their husbands for everything, switching from the past to the present each moment. Things that haven't changed for years are undercut by the increasing height of the grandchildren.
For a few days, this crazy group of people forms a community. The fact that in the past ten years they've gone from all living in New England to being scattered across the country becomes invisible. It's enough of us, all together. That's my December.