It’s going to be a very different Christmas at our house this year. Emma will be in BC and Jen has a limited time off work (which is a good thing really, because we are SO HAPPY that Jen’s job has been extended and that she will still be working at that time...) But it does mean that it will be just ‘me and the boys’ this Christmas.
Change in a family is inevitable; I know that only too well. It begins as soon as your kids start to grow up. But it gets harder as they become young adults. When Jen left to go away to school, that was really the beginning of big changes. Then Emma left. At first they were just away for the school year. Then Jen’s life included her hubby’s family and now they have to fit both sides into their Christmas holidays. (Of course the up side of that was that we got to have her hubby join our family!) Fortunately, we will get to see them at New Year’s. The hardest change this year is that we won’t see Emma at Christmas. That’s a tough one. Needless to say, I’m a bit sad about it.
Part of my problem is that I LOVE hanging out with my kids! They are so much fun to be with. Aside from the fact that they GET me (well, for the most part), they are wonderfully funny, incredibly smart and just really great people to hang out with (and so are their partners!)
The other thing is that I LOVE traditions...translation: I DON’T like change. I think that’s why I love Christmas. It’s all about doing the same things that we’ve done every year....the Christmas baking (fruit cake, cookies, chocolate fruit balls, biscotti, and pannetonne!) the Christmas foods (the Christmas Eve meal, the Christmas day dinner, the special snacks), the Christmas lights that Greg and Aidan put up on the house (although they seem to do that earlier every year and something new is usually added. This year it’s a 3 ft wreath adorned with lights that now hangs on the wall between the upstairs windows, facing the driveway.YUP, it’s already up there, although I’ve been told they won’t actually turn the lights ON until Remembrance Day is over...)
There are also the Christmas cards, the Christmas music, (which by the way, Greg starts playing as soon as it snows...) and the Christmas tree and indoor decorations. For me, all of that- all the prep work, the decorating, the cooking and the baking is really all about one thing...that we are going to have this very special time TOGETHER. So now what?
I’ve been thinking of this for some time now and have come up with a few thoughts. First off, we have so much to be TRULY thankful for. Yes, my heart breaks a little thinking that we won’t all be waking up together on Christmas morning, but compared to what some other people have to deal with this year, we should be grateful. It’s not like learning that your partner just got diagnosed with cancer. It’s not like trying to get used to living with the death of your spouse. We have our health and we have each other. I know it’s a part of life; everyone’s kids grow up and move out and make their own lives. I know that it’s a good thing. And I am thankful that my girls have such wonderful young men to share their lives with and make their own traditions with.
So I guess it’s time for some new traditions around here. Here’s what I have planned so far:
1) I’m going to start by mailing out some Christmas treats to Emma. Some Fruit cake and Christmas cookies, maybe a couple of stocking stuffers. I will be sending her a little bit of home (and a whole lot of love)
2) I will plan on more than one “Christmas Dinner”...a cosy one on Christmas day with my ‘boys’ and Grandma, and a second one when Jen arrives the following weekend.
3) I will just have to finally learn how to “Skype”, so that at some point over the holidays we all still can be ‘together’.
4) I will treasure the fact that I still have Aidan at home and continue to share some of our special traditions with him (as well as LOTS of Christmas cookies and treats that I know he loves!)
I know I won’t be the only one finding the changes at Christmas difficult. But for the girls, I hope it will be a wonderful time too. It’s a time to start building their own traditions with their partners. And they will become as special to them as mine are to me.
And now, I’ve got some Christmas baking to get to!