It’s the first week of December, the tree is up, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care and our menorahs are ready to be set ablaze in less than a week (yeah we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah in this household. Hollah! Or should I say, Challah!). With all this tinsel, evergreen smell, and holiday cheer emulating out of my iPod, I’m still in a funk. I hereby state that I’m going to be in a funk for this blog post, but promise that once it’s over, I’ll pick myself up again, put my big girl panties on, and get on with it. And by “it” I mean the holiday spirit.
My parents sold my childhood home last week, packed up their car, and drove cross-country to New Mexico—to their new home. This will be the first holiday season that I won’t be spending it with them. And it really chaps my ass. I’m sad about it and wallowing in a slushy snow puddle of self pity.
I once read in another woman’s blog about mothering. She went on to write that she is at the stage in her life where she is a mother but also still needs to be mothered. That’s me. I have two sweet children who need me, and look to me for everything. And yet, I’m still looking to my mother (and father) for advice, conversation, comforting. Sometimes I still feel like a little girl. And the holidays in particular always make me feel little again. So you can imagine I am feeling sad without my mommy and daddy and not being able to share in our holiday traditions together.
It occurred to me last night that when I was little girl, we never spent Christmas with my grandparents—they were just too far away. And were my parents sitting on the couch, drinking a glass of wine, staring blankly at the Christmas tree, bemoaning the fact that they couldn’t spend it with their parents? Heck. No. They were creating amazing holiday traditions with me. Swedish Crème cookies, father/daughter shopping trips, Christmas Eve open house gatherings. And I realize this is now my job. It’s my job to help create and carry on traditions in our household. My son and daughter need these traditions. I need them as well. I want them to be able to remember Christmas/Hanukkah fondly and laugh about all the silly things we did during the holidays. And while I don’t get to show off my decorated front door or fabulous tablescape to my mother and father in person…I can still send them pictures and talk to them on the phone. I realize how very fortunate I am that my parents are still here on this earth. I understand that for some, family members are found only in thoughts and memories so please don’t think that I am so “out of touch” as to not know how good I have it.
I don’t want to end this blog post on a “Debbie downer” note as mentioned above, but I also don’t want to end this post in a namby-pamby Pollyanna way wishing everyone half hearted good tidings and cheer for baby Jesus’ birthday.
But you know what, growing up is a hard thing to do sometimes.
There, I said it. I even said it with a little bit of whine in my voice. It’s hard to imagine myself forging ahead into this holiday season without my parents there to foster the holiday spirit. Yet what I realize (there’s a lot of realization going on in my life these days) is that I don’t have to go and create traditions out of the blue. They happen naturally, and they happen without you expecting them to…kind of like finding love. Seriously, when I met my husband, I was NOT looking for love (but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post). Not only do holiday traditions happen naturally, they are passed along from each generation. We take what our elders have taught us and we bend and shape them to fit our own lifestyles. And voila…a tradition is born.
So I’m going to sign off now, and go get my holiday cheer on. I’m gonna drink so much eggnog that even the baby will taste it when she nurses. So what if our homemade gingerbread house looks like a pigeon did a “fly” by on it. And that dreidel…you bet we’re gonna spin it.
Wonderful post Heather! I so appreciate your honest voice… growing up IS hard to do, and nothing makes it more apparent than becoming a mother (or father). As you eloquently stated, the key to the transition is realizing that we have the power to create the kind of memories that we cherish (or long for) for our children. Happy holidays!
Thanks for your words and for reading Chelsea! Have a great holiday as well.
I hope everything works out for you guys and I’m sure there will be lots of new memories for you! I can’t wait for the day we stop traveling for holidays so we can start our own family traditions.
And a sidenote question for you (if you don’t feel comfortable answering, please don’t) since you guys celebrate both holidays, are you planning on bringing your kids up with any religion? Just curious, I am Jewish and my hubs is Catholic. Baby is technically Jewish, but I don’t practice.
Deb–thanks for the well wishes! to answer your question we haven’t fully decided how we are raising henry–in terms of religion. i don’t practice and my husband was raised celebrating both christmas and hanukkah, although he was bar mitzvah’d. so its quite the mix. i was raised catholic and karl went to synagogue growing up so ideally i’d love henry to have a little bit of structure and then he can decide for himself as he gets older. we shall see!
Sounds like you have a whole lot of insight into your situation, despite feeling a bit sad and overwhelmed just now. I think you will be just fine, Heather!
After spending many years away from my family it certainly does feel good to come home. However, I do know how you feel. It sucks for sure but think of all the incredible new memories Henry and Ruby will have in NM. Little consolation at Christmas, I’ll try again after the first of the year:)
This is one of the first genuine posts I have read this holiday season. It’s such a relief not to have to hear the same old holiday pap about merry housewives .with perfect children who post on fb about Christmas miracles and corny stories about stuff which never happened. Loved reading this– just the right mix of wistfulness and humor.