Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Reflections of Christmas

While taking down the Christmas decorations and putting them away for yet another year I found myself reflecting on the holidays and the blessings my family are grateful for.

Having moved several thousand miles from friends and family 2 years prior, this was the second Christmas my husband, our three boys and I spent alone. The first year we each came up with a new tradition...
that would mark the holidays in a way that was unique for us and perhaps ease the pain of pining for those back home. Incorporating these new traditions with those bestowed upon us from our parents, we have managed to carve out a Christmas season that pays homage to the rituals of old and delights in the ones we have created for ourselves. As we practice the old traditions in the absence of those who first taught them to me and my husband, they have taken on a more special meaning in our hearts. Our children have embraced the importance these traditions hold for us and have in turn placed equal value on the rituals our own family have created. This year the closeness we shared through the celebration of Christmas was one of profound meaning and the memories we made will last a life time.

As I thought about this I wondered how I was remiss in capturing this same feeling when I was among friends and family back home and it occured to me that I have felt this way before but not in a very long time. Not since I was a young girl and the anticipation of Santa coming down the chimney to bring presents in honour of Jesus's birth during midnight candlelit service was too much for me to endure. Not since listening to my own father read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" before hanging our stockings and skipping off to bed where my mother would place eggnog kisses on our cheeks. As a grown woman with a family of my own, there were a decade Christmases spent shuffling between relatives turkey dinners and buying gifts for the sake of having to "get something" and somewhere in between there I forgot to stop and embrace the moments and the people. Distance has changed that. Having to be alone with just the 5 of us for the last two Christmases has taught me how important it is to just stop and savour the time we have with eachother during this blessed season and be grateful for the experience. My children get that and my wish is that they will continue to remember it.

When we are fortunate enough to fly back home next Christmas I will not take for granted the company of those I love; nor will allow the stress of travel or gift-buying impede the message the season has been set about for us to bring: Christmas is a time to come together to rejoice in meaniful tradition.

As the children went back to school last week I was not a parent who waved them off with a sigh of relief. Instead I was thankful for the wonderful two weeks we spent skiing, watching movies, playing board games, reading stories and roller skating and secretly thought I would do it all over again, in a heartbeat!

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