Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The last few years I have been a real scrooge about the holidays, which is unfortunate, because now is the time I have the pleasure of sharing Christmas with my small children, and it should be magical and wondrous as I see them see Christmas. While there have been moments of warm fuzzies and yuletide glow, I have certainly not been the best at seeking them out, or maybe even noticing them when they are in my midst. I don't handle stress well, ask my husband - I cried the other day because we had to change our dinner plans - and while I know it is irritating most of the year, it becomes a real stumbling block during Christmastime. Especially after we left Colorado. Organizing travel, scheduling when we would be where, who we would be seeing for what part of the day, how to ship gifts from here to there, and there to here, shopping for gifts (my LEAST favorite - I don't like the pressure of the expectation of gifts), it all was way too much, so I was crabby, and definitely not in the Christmas spirit. Even when we still lived in Colorado, I got so wound up over having to split a holiday and try to make sure each set of family got their time with the girls, and whatever other special holiday thing they wanted to be done. This year has had it's share of stress - two moves, new schools for the kids, a couple of big exciting trips, a couple of heavy hearted trips that no one had planned for - and I was sure, especially since going home for Christmas was not an option this year, that scrooge would rule my attitude. I was planning on having a crappy Christmas. I was going to be sad, miss my mom, hate shopping for gifts, not make Christmas treats because what's the point, and just try to hurry through it and get it over with. How could I enjoy Christmas? My kids would miss out on opening presents with their cousins, we'd miss out on dinners downtown, my husband would miss out on his mom's traditional Christmas foods, there were so many things that would be missing from our Christmas. The girls started bringing home the usual "winter" activities from school, and started talking about Christmas coming up. They asked if we would be going to Colorado, and I told them that this year, we'll be having Christmas in Florida by ourselves. "Just us?" they asked. "Yep. Just a quiet Christmas at home." A quiet Christmas. There it is. It dawned on me that we have never had a quiet Christmas, and never at our home. As much as Colorado is home to us, the holidays we spend there are at someone else's home, doing the things they have done Christmas after Christmas, and they lovingly invited us to be a part of it. My thinking changed as I realized that all of the things we'd be "missing out on" would still be there - for the people who celebrated them. We would be here, and we would not be missing out on what's here. We would have our own, quiet, happy Christmas at home. Thankfully, this change of heart came with plenty of time to enjoy it, and while I am still aching to spend time with our family and be a part of their Christmases, it is easier to be present here. To be hanging paper snowflakes, to be baking those one cookies, to be thoughtful in our preparations for Christmas rather than rushing through them to get to the modest stack of packages under the tree. I regret any bah hum bugs that may have gotten between myself and the quiet miracle of Christmas in the past, but I know this year, it will be treasured and savored, and stored away for days when clouds roll in.