The Debrief

Day 26 of 31

Today we celebrated Christmas (sort of) with my husband’s family. Like many families, we typically gather together for Christmas but have not done so since 2019 because of Covid. Today, however, we all finally got together minus kids at college or who are away.

My husband comes from a big family and he has five sisters. Most of them have children and some of their children have children. When we began dating and I attended my first Clark family event, I was overwhelmed. I come from a small, quiet family so being around people who were all talking and laughing was new to me. I loved it but it did take some getting used to, as did the long goodbye process, which I have yet to master.

I don’t know if other families do this, but one of our favorite parts of going to family events is riding the hour and a half home and participating in what we call “The Debrief”. The debrief typically starts when the car pulls away from the house and continues during most of our ride home. We all get in the car and then someone will say, “Ok, let’s debrief.” Then it begins.

We rehash parts of the day/evening and everyone gives input. We debrief the food, who got there late and why, who left early, what people were wearing, how we liked the new boyfriends or girlfriends, and different conversations that those of us in the car had with those at the party. Sometimes we all have the same information and at other times one person has a piece of information that none of the rest of us heard.

As we left tonight, my husband and I began our debrief with just the two of us since our girls are all out of state. While I talked about some of my observations I mentioned that I miss the girls debriefing with us. I love hearing the different perspectives and opinions of my girls during our debriefing sessions. As I looked out the window, I wondered if debriefing is a family tradition that our kids will continue, or is it just a weird thing that only we do?

When we arrived home we sent a video to our girls so they could see some of the happenings. Our oldest daughter texted back saying she had a little “fomo” about not being there with us. A few minutes later she texted again. Her text said, “I want to call you tomorrow for the debrief.”

I guess it is a family tradition.

4 thoughts on “The Debrief

  1. This is a great story. You describe the “debriefing” process so well, and your feelings and questions about it, and the resolution that you wanted to have. The debrief is certainly something my family does, though we call it a “post-mortem.” I really miss it since my husband died a few years ago.


  2. Perfect ending to a sweet story. We haven’t had a family gathering in quite some time but I think we did a similar thing. We did call it the debrief, but that is a perfect name.


  3. This is such as great story and not weird at all! We often used to leave family and even social events and talk about what happened, what people said….kind of enjoying the after party!


  4. Your honesty about the differences in family gatherings…the reference to “the long goodbye process” … and then, the debrief. A wonderful piece that feels part memoir, part diary. I really enjoyed this; glad your family has this tradition!

    Liked by 1 person

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