This month I attend a homeschool parents meeting where the topic was about how to handle/get through the holidays. What to do in the winter, and anything related to that. The group that showed that evening was really quite small, and the topic really ended up gearing towards the holiday season and what each of us had going on/coming up and many of our gripes or concerns about that. It really became a very interesting conversation about traditions and how much we each found ourselves in a quandry about how to pull back from what we were not liking about our annual holiday affairs and how to recreate something that resonnated with our hearts and our families. It was quite clear that each of us struggled with the perception of how it felt it should be with what it ended up being because it always had been.
I personally brought up the fact that this year I was intended to drive out to CA with the 4 kiddos and that SBJ was now certain that he was unable to go with us. At that point in time I was really on the fence about whether it was a good idea or not, but as I chatted with the ladies, it because clear to me what my fears actually were, and really not anything to stay home about. Certainly this was going to be challenging, but not impossible. And it was going to be an adventure whether we made it all the way there by xmas or we turned around and came back home ; ) BUT, what I had not anticipated that evening, was that this would be the year for us to break the mold that we had been finding ourselves in for so long. The exact thing that I too felt as a few of the women that evening was something that was about to change right before my eyes!
So with the intended trip, the grandparents knew that we would not be in town for the holidays. One invited the kids over to bake cookies and inevitably became a gift-exchange as well. They got some precious time together, and 1-on-1 attention that they would never have gotten during xmas eve or day. It’s always said that xmas is for the kids in our family, however that really does feel further from the truth in my book. It may be that they enjoy it for all of us, but certainly…. they don’t get any attention during the holiday. It’s not much of a warm-fuzzy kinda feeling in my book. It’s more of a peep-show let’s watch and analyze them kinda holiday. This year had become quite different because of our upcoming trip. They first got to cookie bake and have some quality time with one grandparent, and then the other invited us over for pizza and gifts. It was really quite relaxed, laid back, and just so enjoyable to have 1-on-1 time with each of them, and the kids really got to interact with each and enjoy their time with them.
We will then have a daddy-xmas and a santa xmas, plus and xmas with AJ and UP out in California. So it’s really become such a joy to take the focus off of “THE” day and to be able to celebrate with all family members with some real quality time. The kids have enjoyed it all along, and even found me relaxing on lots of “should be’s” and “should have’s.” For instance, this week a package arrived in the mail. It was a gift for K. They were dying to know what was inside, and I did say it was for K and let him personally choose if he wanted to open it now or wait until I wrapped it up for him. He said, “Just this one.” He was clearly dying to open. And he did! Thoroughly enjoyed it all evening long and every day since. Full enjoyment of what was gifted to him instead of a load dumped on him in an overwhelming bundle.
D got wind of how exciting that was and she asked if she could open “just one” before our family xmas evening together. OH the joy she had when she unwrapped a baby doll outfit for her doll. She was glowing and it was just tons of fun.
This year’s change in holiday plans has, to me at least, really benefited us as a family. It’s a time to really analyze what it is we want our children to carry from these holidays and traditions into their adult years. We all decided at Thanksgiving time, that next year was “our year.” We are staying home in our pj’s and I am cooking a FULL traditional turkey dinner for us, and we are watching movies all day and playing games. I was SO thrilled when everyone was in agreement on that one…. And this xmas feels like the time for us to grasp our own xmas traditions as well. A perfect time to invite the change in and figure out what we want for years to come. I’m really excited about this trip. My one and only worry is my nursing baby needing my boob while I’m at the wheel. But other than that, I’m psyched for this adventure with my amazing kiddos and looking forward to what will grow from it.! Giddy-up!