Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Day Ponderings, or Pontifications…

Something different for the holiday tree pic!
The boys are 11, and Lauren is 18. To put that in perspective, we moved to Colorado just yesterday, when Lauren was 10 or 11. Tomorrow, Lauren will be 25 and the boys 18. We've been in the same house for 8 years this April. That's a record for us! It's not the biggest house we've ever owned. Actually, it's the smallest, but it's the one with the most living done in it. Each and every home we ever lived in has its memories, its moments and its special times, but this house, by virtue of time, claims the right of 'childhood home' for the kids. The boys ran through these walls since they were in diapers. Lauren was able to find a place to settle after years of move after move. We turned down an out of state job to preserve their childhood, to give them a hometown, a place to say they came from. Roots.  This is where we've spent the last 7 Christmases. 

Christmas for us is a slow, month-long celebration. A time when we decorate the whole house out and spend more time together. Over the past 8 years, without realizing it, we've developed traditions here. They weren't intentional, as all the best traditions aren't. They came out of the routines and yearly things we did that took on a meaning for everyone.

This is us. Aren't we all adorable. It's not a question.
It all starts the weekend or so after the boys Dec. 1 birthday, because I'm adamant their birthday not get sucked into Christmas. We decorate the tree, and it's a special night. We have sugar cookies with sprinkles or frosting depending, and music playing or a Christmas show. Then the tree and lights go up, oh, the lights… always the lights - check, do they work, check, are there enough, check, why do we have 12 strands? Then, the children each search out their favorite ornaments from over the years, each with a memory associated with it. There's a lot of 'do you remembers…' and 'oh this is my favorite… and 'mom mom this one's yours…' It becomes a wonderful night of light-hearted conversation, story-telling and walks through memory lane. There's always the picture by the tree after, with the three kids always looking so pleased with themselves.

Then there's finding a place for the nutcrackers, changing the table cloth to a Christmas tablecloth which, I know, it's a small thing, but we all notice, and putting up the outside decorations. It's one of their favorite nights. This year there was some grumbling, so we did a second night later with hot chocolate. I don't want everyone being all like 'remember that one night where everyone argued?' even though holiday memories can't really be complete without some memories of the holiday squabbling. During this time of year, we play more board games and eat dinner at the table more. This is because the demands of work and school let up, or maybe we stress less about it, and find more time for each other. Sometimes we see the holiday parade, but sometimes we don't. Then it's Christmas Eve. This year, we didn't make it to the grandparents,  too many sneezing, coughing germ-laden kids on our end to visit the one set, and a grandfather recovering in surgery in another state on another set, and a third grandfather filling in as Old Man on the Mountain in New Hampshire, so this year,  we had a Christmas Eve dinner of bibimbap, the most amazing Korean dish ever, and a huge family favorite. Turbo described it as 'exciting.' I could do an entire post on bibimbap. Another day. Look it up, though, it's amazing.

The children hate being out late on Christmas Eve, so even when we go to the grandparents' we don't stay too late.  They are still at the age where they can't wait for Christmas Day. An age that too soon will fade.
Holiday Fireplace!

Today is Christmas Day, and the children are scattered about occupying themselves with their presents. Turbo is playing on his Nintendo 3DS, Bash is building paper crafts from a paper Minecraft book, and Drama Girl is trying on her hair extensions. I'm lounging on the couch thinking about making another pot of coffee, wishing it'd make itself.  The Holiday Fireplace is playing on our TV. Soon, I'll make stew, our traditional lunch/dinner for Christmas Day, and tonight, I'll partake of my own tradition, watching Doctor Who's Christmas Special. 

I'm watching the children now, Turbo in a chair, chattering incessantly at his game. Bash, quiet and focused on his project, popping up every ten minutes or so to show us his latest creation. Drama Girl teasing her hair. There will be so many Christmas' to come, and so many more of these Christmas Days, but not much more when the boys can be called boys, when Drama Girl is still living with us, and when the magic of Santa gives way to the reality of Santa Mom and Santa Dad. 

The one thing I know I'll take into next year, though, the gift of this day, is the gift of remembering. I remember how these days fly by so fast, how children grow too quickly, all these moments we live become the memories they take well into their lives.  They should be worthwhile memories, then. Warm memories that will get them through whatever days they will one day face as they explore different paths. I'll let the stress of work and school fall off in favor of dinner and tea and board games and walks and bike rides and conversation. That is my resolution for 2015. To pay attention to what matters: the children, the moments of the seasons  the work I crave to do, the dreams they start to follow, and let the rest fall away to nothing. 

No comments: