Twas the night before the night before Christmas, and my children were nestled all snug in my bed while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads. Well not sugar plums, likely Skittles. And not beds, but bed. But you get the idea.
Two nights ago I was in the middle of my giant king-sized bed, snuggled between my two brave girls. During the daytime my bed can easily accommodate the three of us stretched out watching a movie, but on the rare nights we all fall asleep here together I somehow end up smooshed into a 5 inch space in the center while the two little people consume the remaining 75 inches of space.
It. Was. Glorious.
It was glorious because I was surrounded by the two most wonderful little humans I know. It was glorious because everyone was feeling snuggly. It was glorious because so close to Christmas the girls don’t argue about someone being in their space or staring at them or poking them – even teenagers don’t want to get ousted from the good list! And it was glorious because I was keenly aware that the days of all of us climbing into bed together are numbered and few. And with that realization came this question: how does one not lose the sense of holiday anticipation and wonder with all the growing up and with all the change?
Last night, on Christmas Eve, we ended the day in our new jammies. It’s our tradition, and one of the few traditions we’ve maintained. I’ve been thinking a lot this weekend about all that’s changed in the last year and I realized that the biggest thing is not that the girls have parents who are divorced. The biggest change is one that every Mom faces over time. The Christmas Eve kid-chatter goes from what Santa might bring to how embarrassing Mom’s striped elf pajama pants are. Instead of putting together Barbie dream houses and pretend veterinary hospitals, Santa lays out an iPhone and Vans and purses.
The biggest change is simple really – the girls are getting older. They’re growing up. And so Christmas isn’t the same as it’s always been.
I’m a firm believer that one of the best things about Christmas is the traditions. But really Christmas is about both tradition and change. We celebrate Christmas because of change in one small family in Bethlehem: Mary found herself pregnant even though she was a virgin and Joseph found himself married to someone that he didn’t get pregnant. And throughout our lives now, more than 2,000 years later, Christmas is a benchmark by which to see change.
We were all once a baby who looked at the lights and bulbs with wonder, we were all once a child who fell asleep wondering about Santa, we were all once a teenager wondering why we couldn’t just get our stuff and then talk to our friends all day, we were all once young adults sitting around the table wondering how to talk like and be real grown ups…and at some point we will all be matriarchs or patriarchs that wait with wonder to see the young people on Christmas Day.
To fully understand and embrace all that is Christmas, we have to be open to change – all throughout our lives. We embrace a baby that was born to become a king and a savior, and we embrace Christmases and the different phases of our lives with the firm belief that there’s beauty in each one. That’s the only way we will hold on to our sense of wonder.
So I will snuggle with my girls in the big bed along with a tray of pineapple cookies, a family tradition that’s at least over 45 years old. I will watch a Christmas cookie bake-off on the Food Network instead of White Christmas, which apparently has boys that are weird and music that is weird. I’ll wake up on Christmas morning and watch Ella smile just as big at a Merry Christmas text from a boy as she did for her new phone – I’ll even think I like that boy for making her smile. I’ll watch Audrey play more with her new device than with her LOL Surprise house, and I’ll be a little sad for a minute until I see the first text she sends, to me, reminding me to embrace the change and see the wonder: “I love you so much.”
When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things, not the great occasions, give off the greatest glow of happiness. ~ Bob Hope
Happy Christmas, everyone.