Loftus Family Christmas
Yesterday was the Loftus Family Christmas. It used to be four sets of aunts and uncles, my grandma and grandpa, great grandma and ten cousins, all huddled around a dining room table or the “little kids” card table, eating turkey. We’ve grown and things have changed and I’m starting to think that the way you remember it, isn’t always exactly how it was. So I’m going to record yesterday’s Loftus Christmas so it will go down in history for its true high points. Also, so those who couldn’t make it can pretend they were there.
We started the day off at Princess Gardens. Loftii arrived by the carfuls, with cousins and relative mates and hesitant have-we-met-before introductions. Aunt Jo and I prettied up my grandma and tried to keep her from nodding off during the reunion. Grandma looks up at the new arrivals and though she can’t get the words out, her mouth moves as if to try to form words, a smile breaks across her face and her arms come up for a hug. She cries too, from joy I think. From relief of seeing a familiar face, even if the name won’t come to her. She doesn’t know exactly how she knows me or my brother or my cousin or my uncle, but she knows she is loved, so she weeps.
We eat hors d’oeuvres, which Uncle Kevin and Aunt Liz and Sara have prepared, likely over the past few days, but which they always down-play in effort. Connor starts the day off upset, with some tears. He’s a six foot three enigma in the corner for a few minutes, and then he’s happy again and eating cookies and laughing so hard he’s choking on his food. It also wouldn’t be a Loftus gathering if he wasn’t trying to touch his sister’s eyelashes.
We end our afternoon at Princess Gardens when the nursing home has a fire drill. Ashley and Kaitlin (who is in a Comedy Program at Humber College ) find it a hilarious and sadly pointless exercise.
We head over to Aunt Liz and Uncle Kevin’s for more food. Ashley is a bartender and immediately sets up a martini bar. Melissa makes mocktails in the blender for her and her littlest sixteen year old cousin – the pink tutu (the name of the mocktail, not the cousin). However, the blender has no lid, so she and David’s girlfriend, Katie, decide saran wrap will do. Jay objects in a voice that says, you can’t SERIOUSLY think that’s safe. So, we cave, and add an inverted plastic bowl to the top of the blender. That’s Loftus’ for you – safety first.
Sara has to take two calculus courses this year and so Jay and his girlfriend, Michelle, are trying to convince her that calculus is easy. I may have been in that conversation as well. To hear Michelle emphatically pointing out how much she LOVES parabolas and max-min questions, you’d think we were a bunch of nerds….hmmm…you be the judge.
At dinner, we discuss, at length, the best way to eat a pomegranate (what to do with the fleshy part and what to do with the soft, juicy, red bits) while David and Kaitlin are laughing so hard they’re in tears in the corner because they are pretending we are talking about something dirty.
Uncle Kevin got Aunt Liz a new camera, so he’s taking lots of pictures. As we pose, I quickly swallow my food and pray the cracks between my teeth are free of debris. Then I incorrectly think the picture-taking is done, so I put a carrot in my mouth, only to discover that Kevin is saying, “Another one!” It happens so fast, I actually reach into my mouth to retrieve the carrot and hopefully inconspicuously hide it under the edge of my plate.
We also have to take some of the entire family, crowded by the fireplace, with David and Katie holding the dogs and Kevin setting the timer and trying to squeeze in. For the first one, he is too non-chalant, and doesn’t make it on time to his spot at the very back of the crowd. As an added time crunch, Aunt Jo’s car is warming up on the street with the keys in it.
David’s girlfriend, Katie, is a gift registry representative for The Bay and is surprisingly passionate about her job. I am engaged to be married in July. She is very informative and I suspect she works on commission.
Though there are many Loftus dogs, only little Ollie (the horny and non-gender-selective Bichon Frisé) and Luke (a tired golden retriever) are there at the party. All night, Luke looks up at you with his painfully patient brown eyes while Ollie pumps furiously at his back side.
We, the cousins, cleverly turn the card game Spoons into a drinking game and then play a few rounds of Kings (which IS a drinking game) but we unanimously decide to take out rule #6 (Chicks Show Your Tits) since most of us playing are blood relatives.
Yes, Loftus Family Christmases have evolved and changed. I’d like to think it’s because we’ve matured so much.