With Christmas fast approaching, I am keenly feeling the effects of an empty nest. So much so, that I drug out my box of old photos last night and went browsing through them. (How DID we manage before digital cameras?!?!?)
Now that the kids are all grown and pretty much on their own (Eddie Dale and I have seven between us, ranging in ages from 18 to 29), there is so much I miss:
* The pitter-patter of excited little feet scurrying through the house.
* Finding bits of sticky candy cane here and there.
* The necessity of finding new hiding places for presents.
* Pictures with Santa and Christmas programs at Mother's Day Out and school.
I even miss all that penny-pinching and budgeting it took to help Santa out each year when the kids were younger!
I recall the simple traditions we had when there were little ones around. On Christmas Eve, I always prepared a big pot of stew and a skillet of cornbread for dinner. Then, after baths, the kids were dressed in warm and fleecy footy-pj's and loaded into the minivan. I would pop in a casette tape of Christmas music and we were off to cruise through town, looking at lights and scanning the skies to spot the red glow of Rudolph's nose. Upon arriving back home, we would open the presents under the tree and set out a plate of cookies for Santa (with a nice big carrot for the reindeer) and try to settle down enough to sleep.
Christmas mornings were joyous with children in the house, indeed! After the rush to the tree to see what wondrous things Santa left (I personally know that Santa had a very difficult time deciding whether to come to our house right after the children fell asleep or wait until morning and try to catch them still sleeping!), I would begin the preparation for a feast at midday. It never failed that there were toys scattered from one end of the house to the other and someone was always under foot as I rushed around the kitchen, but I wouldn't trade for those times.
Now, don't get me wrong! I love the traditions that Eddie Dale and I have established since we married six years ago. We still go look at the light displays and listen to Christmas music, just not always on Christmas Eve (thanks to his wacky shift schedule). And now we usually have all the pups loaded into the truck with us instead of kiddos. I still bake, and go all out with the decorating, and listen to Christmas music too loud! And I still love to sit in the floor with my grown children as they open each present, oohing and aahing (I just need help getting up!).
The Holidays have changed for us, it's true. But that's not a bad thing. Christmas is just a bit slower, perhaps a little less frenzied. We are reminded in different ways of the Blessings of The Season. Although I cherish those moments from Christmas Past that stand out in my memories, I treasure the moments of Christmas Present that will be my memories in Christmas Future.
What kind of special traditions do you have with your loved ones? Are you chasing little ones and hiding presents? Or are you at a place in your life when you slow down a bit and reflect a little more? Each stage in this journey known as life is unique and special. My holiday wish for you is that you find all the joy where you are in your life - right now.
Special Holiday Hugs,
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