Our family is growing up and changing. Eleven Christmases ago we all lived under one roof. We had a gift exchange and pie and snowplay. We seldom traveled to see extended family because those people of our families are scattered all over the US and were busy having their own Christmas times and traditions. Life was simpler then for all of us.
So, I’m pondering the complications of too many expectations that our married children face. We have gotten so used to making it special for our family; it is hard to realize they will do as they were taught and begin their own family traditions. How can we help them make that transition with love and support from Marmee and Grandpa that blesses and abets them on the way?
We want them to enjoy the simplicity of long winter evenings at home and home-made traditions of their own. They need to grow their own unique culture, because that is what we did back in the day for our children at home. This is far more important than to be required to keep the old traditions on top of their own. It’s double or triple the money for gifts and too much running around to meet the dinner plans of three different family groups. What if all three generations insisted? These are burdens too heavy to be borne.
- To remember, we still have our own traditions, our own life to enjoy together. How amazing it is to buy one or two gifs for the man with whom I have spent 36 Christmases! Lots of possibilities in that of warmth and joy and tradition. And gratitude.
- Find ways to foster the individual Christmases that our children and grands should be enjoying.
- We can open our hands about holding on to the old traditions by delighting in the six new traditions that are developing. Can we be okay with them dropping what has become burdensome to them? We did that long ago once, remember?
- Celebrate the good old days as memories. These days are tomorrow’s good old days for them. We old parents have richness to savor. Treasure to remember … not of which to mourn the loss.
- Open hands and open hearts to enjoy what is, will yield a host of happy memories all over again, because children who are “let go” always circle back to bless their parents. They do. And it will be as happy and fulfilling as any of the old traditions we lived and loved by.
- Finally, create a few new traditional activities and moments with the grandchildren. Things that can be enjoyed all the year long of doing firewood hauling or fishing with grandpa. What happier days than baby-sitting and reading and baking with the grands, for me! And of course, have them all come home for a holiday meal now and then.
This year our children planned together and rented a place for all of us to spend Christmas Day together. This year. It probably won’t happen again for another ten years, who knows. It is going to be a whole lot of fun. We’ll make memories: late night confabs, morning coffee times, and games and food and noise, etc. I am going to make sure there’s a decent coffee bar. And I won’t be able to keep my hands off the faces that need washing and hair that needs combing and dishes that need doing. How does one stop seeing those needs? There are just a few things a Marmee can go ahead and do, right?