Tuesday, November 15, 2016

             The Holidays are  Coming

     Every year around this time, I start getting those mini anxiety flashes that say,

“Family is everything.”
“Life is perfect.”
“Everyone must be happy.”
“Gifts must make people weep with joy.”
“House must be a BHG showplace.”

     When I was a little kid, Christmas was a time of magic. The excitement began around Thanksgiving (not 4th of July), and it was all about what Santa was going to bring me (If I was a good girl). 

     Then years passed, and before I knew it, I was married with children trying to re-create the magic of my youth. Hallmark added several layers to the “Magic Must” list by that time. I found holidays becoming stressful instead of magical. But I persevered, and I saw the magic in my daughters’ eyes every Christmas morning as they tore through their gifts.

     I remember my first Christmas alone after my divorce. It was a nightmare. No gifts, no family, no magic. For eight years, I worked to re-create some combination of all the magic moments I’d left behind. Some years it worked, some just ended in lots of tears.

     As year 24 approaches with Mr. Wonderful, I face another juggling act of blended families, gifts by email and two-day drives through snow and ice to hang onto the 21st century version of what I loved at age four. Good luck with that, you are probably thinking.

     Is there still magic? Absolutely, but it’s not the Hallmark version. We aren’t all sitting around a big table together laughing and counting blessings. We are in three different states creating whatever memories we can to hold onto the excitement of our youth. My younger daughter has told her four little girls that they won’t get packages to open this year. They will get experiences, not things. Hopefully, one of those experiences will afford me time with some of them. We’ll see.
My older daughter sticks to family traditions with her three sons. Traditions include midnight mass, Christmas brunch and decorating gingerbread houses. We all have our ways to keep the magic alive.

     In this year of divisiveness, I pray we can all pause and create many magic moments, if they are nothing more than sitting quietly together and counting our blessings. I pray for our new President, for our country, for minorities, for world peace and for my friends and family. This holiday, some of my friends will spend in Heaven. My parents are looking down on me celebrating the fact that the values they instilled in me are still intact.They are proud that I have passed them onto my children and they to theirs. The big table with smiling faces may not be in our dining room, but it’s in our hearts, and for that, I am glad.