Lil' Dude's Mama, circa 1982
One of my Besties began her email to the group of us this morning;
Hi friends- back at work today. boo. The growing pains of getting older and changing traditions suck. I miss being a kid sometimes! ha
I know what she means.
Yesterday was perfect, Christmas magic here at the Casa de Lil' Dude. Just the three of us, four if you count the one with a tail. It was the first time in my adult life I've spent Christmas Day home just as us- as in, where I live and with whom I live. The year the lil' dude was born, my parents and brother brought Christmas to us. But yesterday was a first.
And at first, I balked at not traveling after Santa showed up. I'm so accustomed to organizing, packing, and schlepping an entire truckload of holiday cheer to someone else's house. I'm a diehard traditionalist; I love upholding traditions and reveling in repeated, repetitious joy year after year. But I eventually embraced the change of routine ... and it was perfect and the first of our new Christmas Day tradition was born.
Who knew I'd love it so much.
And we weren't short of family time this holiday- one big Christmas December 15th, another December 22nd, and some mini celebrations the 16th, 17th, 20th, and 23rd. Christmas Eve was at my Grandma's ... that's unmissable. Unless in the event of a newborn baby or snowstorm.
This year, I really felt what it's like to straddle that line of child/adult, of daughter/parent. I realized how much I owe it to my own Mother for the past 33 Christmases she continues to make for me. I realize how much goes into ... everything.
Perpetuating myths, magic, Christmas traditions
Shopping, shopping, budgeting, shopping, wrapping, presenting
Remembering everything & everyone from teachers, coaches, aides, dogs, and friends
Handling travel, menus, grocery stores, recipes, adjusted routines
For never, ever saying or acting like any of the holiday mayhem was anything except worth it
Managing expectations, ridiculous wish lists, ungratefulness at times
With gratitude, exuberance, and grace
Clearly, traits she learned from her own Mother, My Grandma, who at 81 years old, invites all 55 members of her family, from her eldest daughter down to her great-great granddaughter to Christmas Eve dinner at the Fellowship Hall at Zion Lutheran Church mentioning in the invitation please bring a bottle of soda or juice to share, I'll have all the rest and very true to her written word takes care of all the rest- all 55 of us and our specific holiday favorites including Swedish meatballs, Lutefisk, ice cream roll, pickled herring, Lefse, Rosettes, white dinner rolls, and her legendary mashed potatoes. She became a Mother 64 years ago and she's made Christmases- each and every single one, perfect and memorable despite circumstance ever since.
This year, in my traditional handwritten thank you notes post holiday, I will make more than a brief mention to both of those women how much I appreciate their continued effort toward family celebration and Christmas in general. How I know it pained both of them to celebrate when it meant doing so without my Grandpa, or when new work schedules meant my Mom had to work Christmas Day for the first time in her kids' lives. How they both forged on with a song in their hearts despite heartache, overwhelmingness, sickness, fatigue, and circumstance.
Because that's the true meaning of Christmas.
And I learned it from the best(s).