I'm sure most of us are familiar with what I mean by "that family." It could be the one that always comes in late, or the one with kids making weird clicking noises during times of silence, or kids who decide the aisle is ripe for a repeat performance of Usain Bolt's gold-medal effort in the 200m.
The past year of my life has contained more than its fair share of sorrow. Like most lives, happiness and joy were there too, but those were not the dominant flavors. Too much of the year was like a gruel I wish I could forget—an enormous swill of a stew with fear and misery stuck to the sides like week-old oatmeal. Thick, unappealing, and nauseating.
We put up our tree last week, and it's beautiful. It's fake and petite and 90 percent of the ornaments are at the bottom, reflecting the height of my children (its chief decorators). It's a perfect Christmas tree shape, which is what you get from a plastic tree.