It’s an unusual Christmas for us, full of firsts.
After 25 years, we are spending our first Christmas alone, just the two of us. Simple. Basic. And that is OK. Actually more than OK, it’s awesome.
It’s hard to remember a Christmas that didn’t involve a crowd, or stress. The impossible dream of trying to make everyone happy. Holidays tend to be that way. You have lots of trade-offs in your attempts to make it wonderful. And there have been many wonderful years; the best tend to be when the kids are younger. I also recall some stressful holidays, particularly in my growing up years. Somewhere along the line, there was a rule made that you have to spend your Christmas with your extended family. There needs to be lots of presents, food, and people. If not, you are pathetic.
Ironically, without all that “stuff” I am feeling the love even more deeply.
This is the year that one daughter gets to spend it with her new husband, and that side of the family. In the process of acquiring a husband, she also gained two more brothers and their wives. Being young and just starting out with jobs, vacation days are scarce. We are happy to give others the blessing of her company this year. We are grateful she has a wonderful new family and a man she loves, a man she gets to have many firsts with.
Another daughter will spend her Christmas with her significant other, and some of his family members. During her extended break from work, she will also get to take a fun trip. Once again, we feel blessed she is with people who care about her and who will be blessed by her presence.
Son made a 3-day stop to see us along the way of his holiday break travels. It was a fun time alone with him. “Kids” in their young twenties sometimes crave a lazy and low-key time off. He was able to have that. He rode away on Christmas eve eve with two young work colleagues/friends who will be making a cross-country road trip together to return to their jobs. How exciting is that? He is with friends, he is young, and he will have adventures. Along the way they will stop to have Christmas with family of one of the travelers. They will have other fun stops along the way. We’re happy for his adventure.
These are the blessings in our unusual Christmas of firsts. We feel we raised decent kids, and they are happy and healthy. They will bring happiness to others. Those who realize that our kids won’t be with us this Christmas feel sorry for us. There is a temptation to feel sorry for ourselves, as if something is wrong with this picture; but I’m not going there. Sure, we miss our kids, but we know that Christmas 2018 will be “our turn” to enjoy them all together.
Meanwhile, we are happy with our simple Christmastime. The small 4-foot Walmart tree adorned with my Grandmother’s ornaments; preparing small meals we enjoy that don’t require all-day cooking or endless leftovers; not baking cookies that will make us fat; walks and naps and enjoying time together. This morning I enjoyed 75 minutes of yoga bliss. We spent our Christmas Eve volunteering at church. And we watched old movies and ate popcorn cuddled on the couch.
There are so many blessings! We have our health. We have friends. We have each other, SJ and I. We have a good life and all our needs. We have the knowledge that those we love are well and happy. And we know all of this is a gift we never should stop being grateful for.
And we have the reminder of God’s love for us at this season, that a child was born to save the world. Merry Christmas!