My brother is getting married a few days before Christmas, and I won't be there.
I don't blame him for the timing. He is in school and is coordinating people from multiple states and the holiday break is simply the best time to hold the festivities. Christmas is a fine time to get married. My own wedding was December 20th!
I live 2500 miles away from where the wedding will be, and flying at Christmastime is expensive and harried, but I considered it anyway. My dad had some airmiles saved up that we thought I might be able to use for a cheaper ticket, and I spent some time looking at the logistics of trying to make the trip.
I saw my brother (and met his fiancee) a few weeks ago, but I was especially excited at the prospect of seeing my east-coast-dwelling sister, because I've seen the rest of my family twice in the last year, but haven't seen her in over three years. I also would have gotten to see my grandparents, whom I have not seen in over two years.
However, due to the expense of the plane tickets, (and our unemployed/broke status), if I went down to the wedding I would be going with just my baby (in my lap), and my other children would have to stay behind with Hubby. It's not that I'd be worried about them (although of course I'd miss them), and at another time of year I might have decided to go ahead and make the trip... but December 19-23 are as much a part of Christmas as December 25th is, and I don't want to spend them away from my children.
But it's my brother's wedding! He's only going to do this once, I want to be there! Christmas comes every year, doesn't it? But my kids will only be 1 and 3 and 10 once, and I want to be here too.
As I thought over these things, a verse came to mind:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife. (Genesis 2:24 )
My brother, my sister, my parents...my family of origin are important to me. I love them, I enjoy seeing them, I am grateful for modern technologies like email and long-distance telephone and skype that allow me to keep in touch with them. However, I have another family now, the family I have made with my husband, and if it has to come down to choosing between them, the choice is obvious for me. My kids will always come before my siblings, just as my spouse will always come before my parents.
And I think that's the way it's supposed to be.