Saturday, December 29

Christmases Past and Present

This year's Christmas has been kind of sad.  I do not mean that in an insulting way toward anyone with whom I may have shared Christmas celebrations, or with whom I was unable to share Christmas celebrations.  It's been a year of transitions.  This is the first year that one of my sisters wasn't able to make Christmas at my Mom and Dad's, and plans seemed to all be completely nebulous up until the very last minute, even when we thought that they were solidly set.

In years past my immediate family (my parents and sisters) were abe to spend several days together.  Over the years it has become progressively more difficult to hear yourself think, or to control the mess, and sometimes even to deal with the schedule or lack thereof.  We had a whole schedule years ago.  It involved a talent show, pizza making, cookie decorating, or ornament-making.  Those things have been pared down to just the pizza making- something we've done since I was a child.

Celebrations with my smaller family- Josh and the kids- have absorbed some of the traditions that have been dropped.  We drink "Christmas Cheer" with the kids (sparkling grape juice) on Christmas eve, and read " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas."  We also do our best to spend some time with Josh's parents, though we weren't able to last year because I was due to have Sadie on the 12th of January.

I wasn't prepared for a lot of things this year.  We spent about a day with my two sisters who were able to make it, and we made pizza, but we opened presents at night for the first time, ever.  It felt rushed and I wasn't organized. Josh had to go back to the house twice before we got to my Mom's and I still forgot something.

My kids had a great Christmas.  Jonah finally got some little legos, and Caroline got water-paint books, which thrills her to no end.  Sadie was mostly oblivious, but happy to be there.  We got to see all of the grandparents, and there were tears when we left Colorado.  I can't complain when everyone seems happy.

But something feels unsettled.  I realize that it's just a matter of transitioning to a different way of thinking about Christmases, and family.  I also realize that I am very lucky to have had the upbringing that I did.  Over the years I was able to spend Christmas with almost all of my extended family on both sides up until High School, and with them at least in part, even later.  My extended family is generally pretty close and in some ways it's hard to imagine a Holiday not spent with cousins and children running around, and way too many sweets around the house.  In comparison, this Christmas has seemed small and quiet, but in reality I know that I am overwhelmingly blessed to have so much family and to be financially blessed enough to be able to travel and buy gifts.

I do not blame my dissatisfaction on Pinterest (as many people seem happy to do, lately) or on receiving less than usual (my mother warned me that no one will fill a mother's stocking, so I ought to do it myself.  And I do.)  Instead, it is more related to the feelings you have when you are in college and you come home for Christmas during your senior year, knowing that everything is about to change when you graduate.  It's a foreboding.  A fear.  A nervousness.  It makes it hard to feel the warm coziness of Christmas without knowing that there is a nebulous unknown around the corner.

Instead, I try to focus those moments when there is joy.  Like this one.

Caroline in her Super Girl cape.  Swinging with Daddy.

The only semi decent picture we took as a family.  :)
Decorating the tree at Nana and Papa's house. 

Sadie standing and walking all by herself!
Nana sure is interesting.

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