Posts tagged with holidays:
There were a lot of firsts this Christmas.
- Isobel’s first Christmas
- Our first Christmas with (most of) our immediate family less than 25 minutes away
- The first Christmas buying toys
- The first time we’ve waited hours in line to see Santa
Christmas is always a difficult time of year for me. Since about 7-8 years ago, the holidays have been hard and I thought they were only getting harder. But this year may have broken the cycle. Despite all the odds against us (juggling multiple families, figuring out challenging work schedules and other things), there were no glitches. There was no drama. There were hugs and Santas and Christmas trees and gifts and delicious food and family, but nothing else. I realize now that maybe the difference between this Christmas and the past few is that we (Brandon and I, and our extended family) have Isobel to focus on now. Instead of feeling myself slowly turning inward and retreating in the days before Christmas, I was focusing on Isobel and on Brandon. On my family. I know she won’t remember this Christmas, but I wanted to make it special for her. I wanted to be able to tell her stories about how much fun she had playing with new toys and show her photos of the ridiculous Santa hat I made her wear in public. Can viewing the holidays through the innocence and joy of a child heal a fractured family? Maybe it can.
On Christmas Eve, I was at Brandon’s parent’s home and we were waiting for Brandon to get off work. I wanted him to see Isobel before she went to bed so I was using every trick in the book to keep her awake. We walked around the house. We looked at all the Christmas trees. We played the piano. We played with wrapping paper. By the time he called me to say he was on his way she was nearly in the overtired stage that I know is beyond salvage. I could feel the meltdown coming. Just as she passed over the meltdown stage into complete exhaustion, I walked down the stairs and he walked in the door. He picked her up and she set her head on his shoulder and he took her into the guest room to rock her to sleep. He whispered to me, “Thank you so much for keeping her awake.”
Later that night Brandon was still wrapping gifts in another room and I was exhausted. I tiptoed into the guest room (we’d be sleeping in the same room as her—haven’t done that in a while!) and quietly slipped my pajamas on. In the near darkness in the room, I crept over to her crib and peered down at her. She was laying on her side with one hand clutching her seahorse and breathing quietly and deeply. Every night I kiss her forehead and say, “See you soon,” before setting her in her crib to go to sleep. This time I watched her for a few minutes and then whispered, “Merry Christmas. I’ll be right over there if you need me.”
I hope you had a wonderful holiday and thank you all for a great year. I’m so excited to see what 2013 holds.
Brandon and I getting ready to do some (relatively minor but exciting) home renovations next year, but that means going through our rooms and figuring out what furniture should stay or go. Over the weekend we moved around the living room and yesterday Brandon worked on our bedroom. Next is the attic and then Isobel’s closet. (Ugh.) Like when you pack to move into a new home, there’s one good thing to come out of it: you’re able to get rid of things you don’t want or need. That’s always a really good feeling. When I cleaned out my closet earlier this year, it was a huge relief to get rid of items I’d been hoarding “just in case.” Some of the shoes and dresses were things I’d been dragging along with me since high school.
The concept of “home” is something that I’ve struggled with in recent years. Melissa’s post this morning really touched me because I can relate to some of those feelings. Is home a place? Is it the people around you? Sometimes I fall into the trap of believing that I’d be happier if we moved into a bigger home or if we moved to a different city.
Sometimes “the familiar” is synonymous with negativity. It’s a rut. You’re too comfortable. Shake things up. Challenge yourself. Yet, there is something to be said for stability too. Moving to a new home would certainly shake things up, but at this point…it might be too much. We’d be doing it for the wrong reasons. Shaking things up is a privilege, not a right.
As we were putting up some holiday decorations and hunting in every closet for an extra extension cord yesterday, I had a moment where I thought, “I’m good with things right now.” After a turbulent year and a half, I welcome the familiar. I welcome stability. I welcome routine and comfort. Right now, that’s what I want…and I think it’s coming along nicely.
Here are a few photos that I took around the house the past few days:
My prized collection of Martha Stewart Living holiday issues.
An Advent Calendar for Isobel from Nana.
I forgot I’d bought this until I was organizing the gifts I still need to wrap. Perfect size for Isobel’s stocking!
Isobel’s Santa PJs for Christmas Eve.
A little reading nook in our bedroom. We might move my desk up there instead, but for now I’ll enjoy the space to read my volumes of hard-hitting journalism (ahem).