Monday, December 22, 2008

A Very Chill Christmas?

Is there such thing as a relaxed holiday? Is that even a possibility?

Just drop in on any phone line across the nation and these are the types of conversations you would hear: Where do we go from 3-4p.m. Christmas eve? Where are we scheduled to appear noon-2pm on Christmas Day? Who will pick up Grandma? Did anyone else get (insert appropriate niece name here) Mario Party for the DS? Will So and So's grandma be mad if we go to breakfast before we go to her house? Will aunt so and so be disappointed if we stay home in our pj's instead of trekking to Hackensack to eat more cookies? Do I need to explain to anyone why this bothers me?

This isn't an irate complaining type post, I'm not being pressured by pissed off grandmas or depressed aunts in Hackensack, but I am feeling the crunch of the season in the strain in many people's voices. I'm hearing some are feeling slighted, some are tired, some worried about money, some just wish it weren't Christmas at all...and isn't that a horrible notion?

I look forward to special occasions because some of the happiest childhood memories I have are of the holidays. My brother Joshua and I singing Christmas songs, making cookies with my Grandma Bert, watching football with my Pappy Jack, playing cards with my cousins, seeing my baby siblings open their first Christmas gifts, or seeing them sit on Santa's lap. (There is a privilege us oldest children have, we get to experience joyous moments over and over and over again through the eyes of our siblings first, and then through the eyes of our children.)

Why is that once you reach adulthood those moments seem fleeting, or less frequent?

I put those childhood moments on par with very different moments of my adulthood. The day I brought Rose home from the hospital, the first time Olivia smiled, when Max finally said Mama, seeing Elijah born, watching him in the ocean for the first time. The first moment I saw Jeremiah after not speaking for ten years, going to sleep with him holding my hand, staying up late talking about things we don't really know anything about. These are moments people should be talking about during the holidays. Times when we shared something special, even intimate. Opening up to each other enough to fully enjoy their company. You notice that not one moment I just recalled had any gift giving in it, no stressed out yelling, no fights on the phone, no grudges started to go on for decades.

Should I stop being sad for everyone else and just hold on to those special memories and the notion that I will have a million more before I die?


Merry Christmas, You Jerks!!!!

1 comment:

christinemm said...

The worst is when we struggle to get together as a family then certain family members spend the holiday B&M'ing about some trivial stupid thing. How about some more meaningful conversation or at least something pleasant not complaining about something so dumb that they should be happy that is the most stressful thing in their life?

I have different memories of the holidays when I was little. I wonder if I was just not tuned in to what the adults were grumbling about? Maybe they were grumbling, I don't know!

I try to focus on Christmas being a season and having fun leading up to the day. In that way I can focus on traditions, new traditions I do with my DH and my kids. Then whatever dumb thing happens at Christmas Eve dinner is not as big of a deal, because 'the holiday' is longer and more than just that dinner or the gathering on Christmas day. If a problem happens with the family I can't blame the person for "ruining the holiday" as our holiday is more than that one night.

I also focus on the reason for Christmas too. Focus on God and the birth of Jesus. That is more internal than an external display though.

Merry Christmas!