There's no place like home for the holidays.... except you can never go home again.
I'll be honest. I have had a REALLY hard time being an adult these past few weeks. I want to stomp my foot and pout and get my way, but that means depriving my kids of the magic of holidays, which the parent heart of me desperately does not want to do.
What does 'home' mean to you? When I talk about growing up home, I mean southwest Kansas. When I talk about staying home, I mean here with my kids and husband in Iowa. When I talk about going home, I mean my parents' house.
This year is Christmas with my parents, and while they offered to drive up to our place, we opted to drive down to them. I wanted to be with my parents at their house with the familiar old decor for Christmas day, AND we get to stop through Kansas City and see old friends on the same trip.
But it will never be the same. My brother and sister-in-law can't make it until the weekend after Christmas, which is probably the weekend we'll have to go home because Mr. Curly can't find a replacement for him at church. Which makes it hard to know WHEN to open gifts from Granddad and Grandma. My parents and brother want to do it all together on the Saturday after Christmas, but that means my kids get no Christmas morning. That means I get no Christmas morning.
After a tear filled day of complaining, my dear Mr. Curly solved it for me. We are going to take all our gifts down to my parents house and open them there on Christmas morning. I'll cook our traditional Christmas breakfast (Mr. Curly calls them Alien Pods), we'll read the Birth Story with our kids, and we'll have Christmas. And then, when my brother and his family arrives, we can do Christmas with them and Granddad and Grandma.
It will be nice, but it won't be the same.
Christmas will never be the same again.
And I'm struggling with that. As I told my friends who so kindly listened to me complain for several hours, there obviously is no "adult switch" that gets flipped once you hit a certain age. Which is really quite too bad. It would make it so much easier if there were.
However, while Christmas will never be like it was when I was growing up, we are starting traditions of our own, with our own Curly Kids. Traditions that some day they will struggle to let go of as they create families of their own and have to decide what to do with the holidays.
The nice thing is, while we are creating new traditions, we are getting to keep some of our favorites - listening to the dramatic reading of The Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve, special Christmas breakfasts, no gifts under the tree until kids are in bed on Christmas Eve, Mr. Curly taking the kids shopping like his dad used to take him, and themed stocking gifts.
My kids are enjoying this wonderful time of year, they love to see lights and exclaim "They decorated for the Christmas season!" and instead of pouting about everything that is not the same, I'm attempting to do what I tell my kids to do - see the good, enjoy the things that ARE going right, and put aside things that are not quite right. God loves us, after all, and that is truly the greatest gift.