One of the things that has really helped me in family relations has been to help the kids connect with their extended family. We’ve really made a concerted effort to be able to do that so that those relationships are really strong. In raising the kids, we’ve always been able to say, you’re not just responding to your immediate family. There are all these other people that are supporting you and that believe in you, that are looking after you. So you are also accountable to them. And the uncles, aunts, grandparents are present enough so that their opinions are important. Every year we spend Christmas Eve with my family in Washington and every Christmas afternoon with my husband’s family in Knoxville. Every Christmas morning at 6am, we pack up the car and drive nine hours to my husband’s side of the family. It has became an important ritual. We let our kids open some gifts early and let them eat McDonald’s on the way.
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