I don’t know about your family, but mine is big on traditions. Everyone gets together for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The kids always watch movies at night, while the adults sit around and laugh and play games. Nothing is more fun than everyone getting together and sharing laughter, good food and just catching up.

However, there is one tradition that I wish my family would give up. It seems that every holiday, every year, there is some sickness that runs through the entire family. One year there was a nasty virus that went through my family that landed five of us in the hospital. Then there was a Thanksgiving in which everyone, besides me, ended up with the stomach flu. This year the stomach bug has struck again, claiming three casualties already.

What is the deal with this? The only Christmas present I wanted this year was for everyone to be healthy. Why does this seem to be impossible? It’s the adage, the one thing you want is the one thing you can’t have. I just didn’t think I was asking for too much.

I would have gladly taken a cold or even pink eye, but why does the sickness always have to involve puke? You know that smell. All you have to do is read the word and you can already smell it. It’s just one of the scents that is seared into your brain and your nostrils.

I know I like to complain about this, but I should be grateful. We always manage to recover and are all generally in good health, and we all get to spend time together for a few days.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.