I have a huge family. Two sons, four sisters, two brothers, nine nieces and nephews plus in-laws and random pets. My mother taught us that the thing that defined family was love. That means we have to add more people to the group - uncles and aunts, close friends and neighbors.
Therefore, the defining family tradition is chaos. We are loud. We make scenes. Not in a bad way, mind you, but we do really stand out. When we all go to the beach, we lug 20 chairs and two cabanas. Thanksgiving dinner has to take place in two rooms. Christmas got to be so expensive, we stopped giving gifts all together. When you show up with this many people, you are bound to get noticed.
Love is a messy thing. Sometimes there are disputes and often we have lively debates. We get mad, but move on. Maya Angelou said, "I sustain myself with the love of family." The longer am part of the messy and wonderful thing called family - infused with love, drama, heartache and forgiveness - the more I appreciate the truth in these words. Chaos is our tradition. And the chaos is beautiful.