Sunday, December 21, 2008
Who Will Be Home for Christmas?
I get asked this question frequently at this time of year. With five sons, twelve siblings and a slew of grandchildren, I suppose it's natural for people to assume that we will have a houseful for the holidays.
But the truth is, we often spend the day with only one or two sons, rarely more than that. The reason is: life. Some of my sons work shift work; another owns his own business which means the business owns him. Two sons and all my siblings live on the other side of the Eastern Continental Divide, which means that snow and bad weather play havoc with travel plans. It is often just not a good idea to plan a trip over the mountains in December or January.
Another reason why we don't have a houseful of visitors is that I have told my sons that they don't need to come. They have young children; kids like to be home on Christmas to enjoy their presents and celebrations at home. I remember so well how we used to have to take our sons away from their presents to travel to either my parent's or my in-laws' homes. The boys usually were wired up about their toys, and quite often their disappointment at having to leave home for the day was acted out in bad behavior. Which meant I was stressed and not having fun either because I had to ride herd on my herd.
I'm also aware that my daughters-in-law have obligations to their families too. Trying to make everyone happy can often end up making everyone stressed. I prefer that everyone enjoy their day and visit when they can. It works for me and I think it works for my sons too.
Last Christmas morning, Larry and I were alone. It was the first time ever that we'd been alone on Christmas. Derek was in Iraq, Tommy was in Germany, Aaoron was working, and these are the three who are usually closest to home and most likely to be here. We slept in, made coffee and a good breakfast, and lingered over opening our gifts. We called sons and family, and had a leisurely start to the day. It was just us, and it was just good. Each day is what we make it, isn't it?
This year it looks like it will be Larry, Tommy and me in the morning. I'm looking forward to another quiet and leisurely morning with good food and time to take things slow. We'll enjoy the time with Tommy. Then we'll be off to Derek's to cook dinner and celebrate with his family in the afternoon and evening.
And once again, it will be a good day.