Today is the big day! The day of family, faith and friends…all of our loved ones.
I am having mixed feelings this year. It’s the first year that I don’t have all ( or most) of my children with me sharing the day. There are “spouses”, distance and other things that are going on to cause the changes. I am actually ok with it. I need time to adjust. I am figuring out so many things in our lives. We are making new experiences, traditions and changes. This is a transition year for sure. Next year will even be better. My brother and my Brother in law are moving to our small town…( they are here for Christmas this year..but have to drive a few hours to be here) and next year we will have to figure out a new plan. There are so many changes happening to us at once..it’s hard to feel stable. But I am ok with the changes. I am adjusting to the “quiet”. I am actually enjoying it a bit more. We have had so much chaos….it’s been so different in our house. The dogs cause the most chaos and noise around here. LOL
As a child I loved Christmas. Christmas was always magical. I didn’t grow up in a good home ….my mother was not a mother. However….she always did Christmas. Even if we were flat broke in a shack with the windows falling off the hinges…( we lived in AK in some bad places…so cold drafts were memorable..lol) we always had gifts under the tree. Always. So I will give credit to her for making the Christmas morning a good day. She really tried. ( She also tried to make our birthdays special…I remember she cooked me a full turkey dinner in the middle of August because Turkey dinner was my favorite meal and I asked for it…..it was HOT…all day. Everyone suffered through that …I didn’t ask for that again. LOL)
There are very few memories that I *want* to remember as a child. Usually, even the good days are tainted by something bad that happened behind the scenes or leading upto ect. However…..Christmas memories are usually good for me.
Depending on which step dad I had…at different times in my life there were different traditions ….but a favorite is Going to one set of Grandma and Grandpa’s on Christmas Eve. We always had a new personalized ornament on the tree. We would eat dinner together. Then we would drive around looking at different Christmas lights. Then we would come back for Hot Cocoa and Grandpa always seemed to be locked in the only bathroom in the house. Then Santa would come through the back door with a huge bag of gifts for all of us kids. In my stocking ..there would always be an avon bottle of perfume called “Charisma” …haha.
In the 80’s that was pretty fabulous and nobody I knew had those types of memories or traditions. That is AWESOME!!
I didn’t have those types of traditions with my children. But we did eventually settle into a routine in the last 10 years or so that made me feel like we had a great, peaceful, and fun time. None of us drink, cause drama, or fight on the holiday. We have a wholesome good time…and I will treasure those years with my family. Once I got old enough to understand what was really going on in my family ( of origin) …Good Lord..I am not sure why people insisted on getting together for holidays with all of the fighting, drinking and drama that was happening while us kids were unaware…..the years that we were aware…we still willingly subjected ourselves to it because that’s what we were trained to do. LOL. It wasn’t until my husband spent a few holidays with my crazy family that he said….”No way! Our kids are not going to be subjected to it.” I agreed. Even my broterh and his partner quit going after that year. haha! They don’t have kids. Life has been great ever since that. I am thankful for him (Rob) everyday. Sometimes you need someone outside of it to show you the way out.
I am not sure why I feel like discussing memory lane today…..Other than, I think holidays make one feel nostalgia. It’s the time to reflect on your/my life and the true meaning of all the important things. While I think of this….I think about how thankful I am Jesus was born to save me. This day is significant for me. ( Easter is as well). He made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. If I think about the faith Mary and Joseph had to help with this plan…..and all of the pieces that came together..well it’s overwhelming and beautiful and magical. I am most thankful for that. As I have struggled this year ….I have not been sinless. I have not even been myself sometimes. I have been hurt…and without God…..I am not sure where I would be currently? So Christmas is really about a new beginning. A new life. A savior is born. To celebrate that means that we know there is something good coming our way and we get the ultimate gift. I have to remember this on a daily ( multiple times a day). I have been given a tremendous gift. Today is a reminder of that.
So I really do appreciate the real reason for the season. I am not caught up in the hustle and bustle of everything. I don’t go all out crazy buying gifts and spend hours wrapping fabulous bows ect. I barely decorate…in fact Clarissa and Rob put up the tree. I love making the meal and enjoying the time with my loved ones. I love being “present”.
I have realized that one of the best qualities I have is being present when I need to be. If that means taking an extra 15 minutes to talk to someone who needs it…even if I am on a schedule. I just do that. I will make time for anyone who needs an ear. I am a good listener. I am also a good talker…..but I do listen. I had to grow into that…and I am a good secret keeper. ( I learned the hard way about that in my 20’s too..LOL) I love to cook and feed my loved ones….so cooking is from my heart….not a chore. I don’t mind that at all. So that’s how I will spend my day.
I hope as you all reflect on your special day. Stay present . remember the reason you celebrate. I don’t care what your beliefs are or your reasons. Just find your own path, gifts of service and share your gifts and talents while also enjoying yourself. You have permission ( not from me….but give it to yourself…there is so much freedom in that!). I think we sometimes get caught up in the rules and expectations of what we are supposed to do that we get lost in that. As adults we get to make up our own rules. We don’t have live up to someone else’s expectations. What rule says that I need to spend holidays with dysfunctional people? I don’t. What rules says that I need to buy a certain amount of gifts for anyone? I don’t. I don’t need to spend all of my savings to please anyone or everyone. I get to decide how any of these things go…and I get to set my own expectations, traditions and decide how I want to spend my time. We all do. The minute we realize we have that power…..we find freedom. So today my family decided we are eating BLT’s and deep fried mushrooms for dinner. We are going to go to a movie together and we will have a quiet restful day. We had a turkey dinner last night, white elephant gift exchange and games. Low key…no pressure of gift buying. Full bellies and lots of laughs. freedom. I love that!
We have so many changes happening in 2018….I cannot even fathom how next Christmas will look….I just hope I will be here to reflect on all of it….and say 2018 was better than 2017. Not for any other reason than to say I have grown, improved upon myself…and gotten to know myself better. There is freedom in that as well because I am not putting any expectations on that ….other than natural growth…haha!!
I pray you all have a wonderful holiday full of love, freedom and blessings.