Saturday, January 24, 2009

Christmas In Buffalo

I know why families were created with all their imperfections. They humanize you. They are made to make you forget yourself occasionally, so that the beautiful balance of life is not destroyed. -- Anais Nin

(Uncle Dan, Mom, Aunt Marcia, Ma, and Aunt Lois)

(Aunt Lois, Mike-cousin, Jack- cousin, Andrea- cousin, Ma, Erin- cousin)

Each year we head to Buffalo for Christmas because my Mom's family, the Baccari's, all live in a suburb of Buffalo. Growing up in close by, I spent most every holiday there and consider it to be one of my homes. After all, home is where your heart and family are located.

(cousins Andrea and Erin)

(cousin Sarah and Mom)

As silly as this may sound to others, we generally fly into Buffalo on Christmas. Because of our odd plans, we have spent Christmas day in the airport several times. The airports are less crowded and the airfare is more reasonable on December 25th. We go to church on the 24th because it seems to be less crowded than the 25th. (I am not actually sure if this is true because this year we had to stand in the foyer to the church gym where Christmas mass was being held.)

(Chris- cousin, Andrea- cousin, Erin- cousin, Mike- cousin, Sarah- cousin, Uncle Jeff, Peter- cousin, Steve- cousin, Shannon- Steve's girlfriend)

After catching up with my Grandma, who we call Ma, we head to my Aunt's house for Christmas dinner. This year we were treated to Ma putting on her Ms. Claus outfit for the family. Her hairdresser made the costume for her so that she could play the roll at a Holiday event. Ma was certainly a hit in her red and white outfit! She looked cute as a button!


(Uncle Dan, Mom, Aunt Marcia, Ma, and Aunt Lois)

Once dinner, dessert, and present opening was finished, the cousins retired to the family room to play "Rock Band" for several hours. We only stopped when my Aunt kicked us out because it was past 1 a.m. and my cousin Nate had to go to work the next day. That was my first time playing Rock Band and I was addicted before the first song over. For some reason, I was the only one who really wanted to sing and I sang 90% of the songs that evening. Since the age of 4, I have wanted to be a singer. Rock Band allows me to live my childhood dream.

(Me and Erin- cousin)

(Uncle Dan, Rosemarie- cousin, and Andrea- cousin)

The rest of the stay was fun because I got to spend time with my cousins, Aunts, Uncles, and Ma. We show all of the normal characteristics of a loving Italian family. No one talks in my family, everyone yells all of the time-even when there is not a fight. No one ever goes hungry. When you walk in the door, the first question is "What do you want to eat?" or "Are you hungry?" Refusing can sometimes be an insult to Ma. One of the many ways my family shows love is through cooking and eating food. Someone is always eating and most everything occurs around the kitchen table. Homemade pizzelles and biscotti (also known as "slices") are served in between meals.

(John and Me)

In 1998 we moved from Pennsylvania to North Carolina and I have missed the interactions with my family. During my childhood and teenage years, we went to Buffalo frequently and I always felt a sense of closeness to my Mom's family. As I wrote earlier, they feel like home to me. I have eight first cousins from my Mom's siblings and they have been like brother's and sister's to me (I have many second cousins that are close as well). The absence of everyone since I have moved has sometimes been harder to deal with than I have admitted.

(Cousins Jack, Mike, and Erin)

(Jerry- family friend, Uncle Jeff, Tony- cousin, and Aunt Lois)

Because my visits are now so infrequent, I cherish each moment that I have with everyone and look for forward to the next visit. Buffalo is a cold and dreary place in the winter, but being with family makes it feel.....just lovely.

(Rosemarie-cousin and Dad)

(Picture of me from 1993 that Ma still has on her fridge. )

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