Last night Steven and I had a rare night alone.
This generally happens only once or twice a year.
We took this opportunity to go out to eat and see a movie, "True Grit".
And, yet, here I am, up at 6:00 a.m., with no kids, blogging.
What has happened to my life?
As I laid in bed my mind went back to Christmas. I think I have been thinking a lot about it. This season flew by, I found myself without my usual enthusiasm and the times (and traditions) were a changin'.
I knew they would. In fact, last year, I even posted about it here.
Grandma S, my father's mother, was moved into a nursing home in March. Her mind has failed her. I am not sure that she knows me, but to alleviate any question, when I visit her, I hit the door saying, "Hello, Grandma!". She never calls me by name and doesn't know who my children are.
They understand and give hugs freely, anyway.
Unfortunately with Grandma, probably as a result of not knowing what is going on and a mind that is constant turmoil, there are times she is angry with her children. In turn, they were very worried that if they checked her out of the nursing home to come celebrate Christmas- they might not get her back in, and they had tried every other alternative. The nursing home was the only option.
So, Christmas this year was celebrated without Grandma at my aunt's house.
My aunt, without a doubt, is as close to Grandma as you can get.
I think she is a saint.
Still, the tradition that I have had for my entire life has now been broke. It was hard.
It would have been harder had there been no Christmas celebration at all.
Keeping the tradition of gathering is SO important to me. My children have little, to no, relationship with any of Steven's family. In some instances this is unfortunate....in others, it is necessary.
I, for one, believe that family is the most important thing that a person has. Period. I might even go as far as to say that when a person undermines the importance of family -whether positive or negative- in their life, it is the first step of the downfall that we are currently seeing in society. Family is definitely a force to be reckoned with.
I was thankful that my aunt picked up where Grandma left off. Granted, there were relatives that didn't show....but the majority were there. I realize that if this tradition dies off now, my children are young enough that 1) they will never remember the tradition at all and 2) they won't remember many of the family members either.
Family members that have helped to shape me into the person I am today.
Instead of dying off, the tradition seems to be in full swing on my mother's side of the family.
Since I was in high school we have celebrated Christmas together at my aunt's house. Grandpa joins us and we spend the whole evening eating, talking, laughing, eating, opening presents, eating, telling stories and have even been known to break out the instruments and break into song. Did I mention eating?
This year, as I looked around, I thought to myself that if everyone continues to find time in their busy lives for this family, then next year will be the biggest gathering yet. This year alone we added three babies to the family mix.
There was some chaos....and I loved it!
With my cousin expecting a baby in February, next year there will be (at least) one more.
I am sure it is an idealistic thought to hope that each of these children hold these Christmas memories as dear as I have.
But one can hope, right?