This Christmas, J.P. and I made out like bandits! I guess that’s expected when you have 2 families to spend the holidays with…boy are we blessed! But this Christmas was also a reminder to myself about how much things are changing in my life.
Growing up, we always had a very traditional celebration: church on Christmas Eve, followed by a couple “open christmas eve” gifts. One of those is always a pair of PJs from my grandma, we call her Nanny. They are almost always itchy, three sizes too big, and still have the price tags attached. The other is a Christmas ornament from my parents- something I never fully appreciated until this year, decorating my first tree with my husband, and being able to reminisce about all my Christamas traditions as a kid. When we would wake, the tree would already be lit, the stockings stuffed, and we each would have a gift from Santa, wrapped in special Santa paper. Out of everyone in my entire family, I am always the most excited for Christmas morning. I tossed and turned all night long in anticipation- never sleeping a wink, then waking everyone up by 6:00 a.m. to open gifts. And even though my sisters and parents would always pretend to be annoyed in the wee morning hours, I know they loved it. They counted on that tradition, and on me to carry it on.
This Christmas signified to my family that times have changed. Much of the excitement and build-up was gone. Days before Christmas, the Santa presents were already under the tree, wrapped in the same paper as all the others- maybe because even my mom knew it wasn’t going to be the same this year. Even I had to set my alarm to wake up on Christmas morning- the first time in 26 years! I absolutely love being married, and I especially loved spending my first Christmas morning married, with my husband’s family, but this year was increadibly difficult to see how some of my favorite traditions are fading away. It made me realize that what makes Christmas such an exciting and wonderful time for me is because it’s the one time each year when, despite all the hardships, growing and changing we all have done, we become the same picture perfect family from 15 years ago, that’s engraved in my memory.
But like Thoreau once said, “things do not change, we change,” and in this case it’s so true. I have begun a new life, with which comes new traditions. And who knows, maybe these new experiences will mean even more to me because I will have created them with the person I love. This year, I missed Christmas morning with my family, but J.P. and I did some great bonding. Our little family, including Belle, buzzed around to all the gatherings together. We made some fantastic memories, and of course, took dozens of pictures.