The Macy’s Day Parade ended with children around Santa Claus singing how they believed. I had watched my children’s faces rapt with wonder as float after float, band after band, balloon after balloon went by on the screen, and now that it was over, I sat as I do every year at the end of the parade and cried. Not because it was over, but because it was beginning…
Thanksgiving. The Christmas season. It is my favorite time of year. But somehow this year, there is little excitement for me.
Perhaps it was because when I had walked into my grandparents’ house earlier Thanksgiving morning, my grandfather’s face didn’t light up. He didn’t even know who my Audrey was at first. Perhaps it’s because I’m writing this from the darkness of a hotel room. A hotel room 6 miles from my grandparents’ house. A house that I’m supposed to be sleeping in. Not here. But with Pap’s health so fragile, he needs the rest and the quiet that don’t come with three small children.
Perhaps it’s because we’ve all been sick for 2 weeks and I still just don’t feel good. (Thus the absence from my blog.) Perhaps it’s because of the depression, the weariness, the loneliness of spending weeks cooped up in my home talking to no one.
I am an idealist. I know that. And I am a woman of tradition, sentiment, ritual. I love all the treasures and routines of this time of year… and yet this year, they are all different.
Our new home is the perfect place to decorate and celebrate. Three weeks ago when I asked my Bri if we could paint the family room and get it together, he decided that any job worth doing is worth doing well, and completely gutted it. It will be gorgeous when it’s finished… when it’s finished. And it the meantime all our furniture is piled into the living room and there’s nowhere to decorate. No room for a tree. He should finish next weekend and we can hopefully begin to decorate. But i sigh and think, “Is it really worth it?” At that point we’ll be home for two weeks before we board a plane to fly to Phoenix to be with Brian’s family.
And y’all. I hate to fly. HATE to fly. I’m claustrophobic. I hate the crowds of the airport. I am terrified of the plane going down. And I will drag three small children through the chaos of Christmas travel… are we inSANE?!
It’s all changing. Life.
We will celebrate Christmas around our tree (if we manage to get one) early. Not on Christmas day. There will be no traditional brunch that I make. There will be no Christmas Eve service at our home church (although that’s even been changing, too). There will be no presents around the tree in Phoenix because we’ll have them here. Out of necessity (we don’t want to pay to fly the gifts home). And we’ll fly home the day before Bear’s birthday, and we’ll miss the Rose Bowl Parade and I won’t have time to prepare anything special for his birthday.
And I’ve cried a lot. Not because we’ll be with Bri’s family. I’m excited to be with them. I just wish we could be with them AND have all our traditions.
It’s because it’s different. All so different. And I don’t like different.
But my kids. They have no clue. They are THRILLED to be sleeping in a hotel room. What a fun adventure! They love that Daddy is painting and sanding and tearing up floors (mind you, I love it, too… I just don’t love the timing). Daddy’s a big, strong, smart man. They cannot WAIT to board that plane. To fly through the air. They don’t care when they open gifts, they are just excited to make lists and buy for each other. The whispers of plans, excitement over what they can do to surprise each other is contagious. They sing Christmas carols in their bedroom and talk about celebrating Jesus’ birthday. They are beyond excited to see their grandparents and cousins and aunts and uncles in Arizona, and they are already discussing what to pack in their suitcases.
They are the ones with perspective. The perspective that I need.
Because they know it’s not about them. First and foremost, it’s about Jesus. It’s about believing… not in Santa Claus, but in the miracle of Christmas. It’s about family and being together no matter where you are and what you do. It’s about remembering and anticipating.
It’s not about me.
It’s about Thanksgiving and we have so much to be thankful for.
It’s not about me.
It’s about Christmas.
The perfect Gift.
So I will live these next weeks basking in the perspective of my children. I choose to focus not on what’s different because it’s different, but rather because it brings new possibilities, new adventures, new joys.
We are together.
We are family.
We are redeemed.
We are celebrating.
We are believing.