Christmas is complicated in our combined family, perhaps for all families as we all try and see as many family members as possible, pursue our personal dreams. I have three sons and a daughter-in-law and my partner has three sons, a daughter and a small granddaughter. Two of his children are in serious long-term relationships and the youngest has recently taken the initiative and is engaged. I now have a relationship with people for which there is no clear definition - my partner's son's fiancée visited over Christmas and as for her extended family, both her parents are divorced and re-married to people with families of their own. Modern life is complicated.
I was talking about this recently in my weekly French class; my teacher is a French national and she and her partner came over to England about 10 years ago and settled in East Anglia, running a very successful cafe with delicious home-made food and welcoming fires, all very much in the French tradition and very popular too! I can drop in for a cup of coffee and a croissant before heading upstairs for some serious French conversation. She tells me that the French too have no words for this complex interweaving of family ties but simply have the same name for in-laws and step-relations. Thus my daughter-in-law, my step-daughter and step-daughter-in-law-to-be are all my belles filles, my beautiful daughters, and my step-sons etc are my beaux fils. So they are all my beautiful children!
And it was wonderful to see so many of them over Christmas.