“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” ~ Charles Dickens
Both Mr. Andi and I are children of divorced (and remarried) parents. I don’t ever remember a Christmas when I opened my Santa gifts and got to play with them all day – I was always picked up around midday to go be with my dad.
Having two extra families – complete with extra grandparents and extra cousins – meant twice the presents and, more importantly, twice the love. But what it also brought was twice the hassle and headache and lots of time spent living out of a suitcase. Mr. Andi’s family dynamic didn’t change until he was older, but change it did, and that change predated our marriage by several years.
When we merged our two families, the level of complexity in holiday celebrations doubled. Then Sarah Kate was unexpectedly born prematurely, on December 27, complicating things further, and starting school (i.e., limiting the time available for Christmas festivities) added another layer to the nightmare.
I became a Grinch.
We decorate our house and put up a tree, but I don’t go whole hog like a lot of my friends do. In fact, one year before we had kids, Mr. Andi and I didn’t even have a tree – we weren’t going to be home enough to enjoy it, so we didn’t bother. Most years, Sarah Kate’s birthday has been spent with grandparents who were visiting for Christmas, rather than a large crowd of school friends. And don’t get me started on the scheduling.
My mom and Mr. Andi are currently in a tug-of-war (with me as the rope) about what to give me this year – each of them wants to give me something that I’d really like to have (which I appreciate), but the truth is that I just don’t want that much.
Nothing that can be purchased, anyway.
I want more time to take photographs and process them – uninterrupted!
I want someone other than me to deep clean my house.
I want a personal massage therapist to work out these kinks in my back that just won’t go away.
I want to write, and write, and write some more.
I want Nathan to walk independently.
I want Sarah Kate to run and jump.
We’ve had a busy fall, and we traveled for Thanksgiving, so we’re planning to stay home this year for Christmas. We’re skipping a lot of the December festivities so we can recharge before the madness hits. We’ll watch Christmas Vacation and Four Christmases and laugh at the absurd reality that is our holiday season.
But in spite of the madness, we’ll do our best to see Christmas through our children’s eyes.
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?
It came without ribbons. It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before.
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.
~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!