Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Seasonal Reflections-No Should Be's

Three Christmas's ago I came down with the flu of all flu's. It started the Sunday before. We had taken  my in laws to a play, followed by a nice dinner just around the corner. The play was a little community theater in the round type production of A Christmas Carol. The restaurant was beautifully decorated for the season and had delicious homey meals plus  cafe fair like risotto, flat bread pizzas, and main dish salads. When my Mediterranean flat bread came, I could do little more than nibble on the crust and drink massive glass after glass of water. I crawled into bed after a heavy dose of flu and cold meds. I got up, dragged myself to work the next day trying to convince myself I wasn't sick. A day later, Christmas Eve, I was woozy  in church, ate nothing at my sisters, and was drained, knowing I was truly ill. I was not going anywhere on Christmas Day. This was the first year neither older kid was home for Christmas, so DH and DD2 went off for the day to his parents, leaving me in a flu med induced lethargy and BBC America marathon of Doctor Who on the TV. 

DD had a good time, still  child enough then to enjoy the loud and chaos. I got the rest I needed. Later, when feeling better, I got to Skype with DD1 in London, and talk with DS in Florida. They liked their gifts. They both made the most of Christmas with friends, DS making the appetizer I always make for Christmas Eve, and binged watched mindless on-line programs, both being poor students again, using the day as a break from home work. We all did just fine with everyone doing and being where they were, and Christmas was still Christmas. The point I'm trying to make is that so many people put way too much store on Christmas as  a "should be," myself included. I love the Christmas story, the lights, the decorations, the music. I didn't enjoy any of those things less because I was sick and I was without two children home on the day itself. The day is not the end all be all. If observed or not, the holiday should not be defined by any one elses expectations or standards, and I'm slowly letting go of my own expectations.

 My children already live in two different states and are bound to have people in their lives as important as us. Maybe we'll decide late December is the best time to take a big trip and instead of a lighted pine, we'll sip cocktails under a palm tree. I am happy my kids are all going to be home this year, but not because it is for Christmas, but because the opportunities to just be together as a nuclear family will be fewer and fewer as they build their own lives. If that includes being home from time to time, and at the same time as their siblings, terrific. If not, we'll Skype, we'll talk on the phone, and we'll trust that we're all doing Christmas not as we should, but as we are. 
All five of us, a rarer and rarer picture.
o

15 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more. With all the various forms of media demonstrating the "perfect" family, in the perfect location doing the most perfect of activities and buying the perfect gifts is it any wonder people feel let down afterwards? I've stopped hanging all of my hopes on one day and try to enjoy each day as it comes. One of my most memorable Christmases was the year my sister and her family brought the flu to our family home. The week was filled with one person after another getting sick and the remainder making soup and doing their best to keep us alive until they too got sick. I thought I had escaped it all, I was about 20 at the time, until I headed out for New Year's Eve only to return home an hour or so later sick as a dog. Such a display of family togetherness has never happened since! Thankfully!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just want perfect for us, which means rest and relaxing at least for the most part. We've been failry fortunate-I was an extreme that year.

      Delete
  2. Great post and perfect timing in my little world! Thank you for reminding me! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a post to myself-my own reminder. I'm glad it resonated with you as well.

      Delete
  3. A great picture! We no longer travel right at Christmas, I can't stand it so we do our family visits a couple weeks early, this week in fact. This year though 2 of the kids asked to come for Christmas so are doing so (care of airline points). It will still be the relaxed movie fiesta turkey feast of usual as we all need some R&R

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Staying put sounds good, but our travel is still within 90 minutes-so not really much. I hope you enjoy the time with them home.

      Delete
  4. Well said! It is not the same to celebrate when your family is apart, but especially with the modern day technology making it so easy, there is no reason to not connect and celebrate!
    Lovely to see your family together!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bet you use those pieces of technology with your world wide family.

      Delete
  5. It is hard to make holiday plans around everyone's availability. We always have at least 1 son somewhere else at Christmas so that is our normal now. Son3 still comes home from school but his breaks are getting shorter and shorter as he picks up various gigs during the holidays and has to be in other cities. We are thinking of spending most of the holidays at the lake

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand. While it is special when together, normal is just who is able to be together and when. I bet once the new lake place is down, we'll migrate to the weekend before or after Christmas, and let people come and go as works. I hope so.

      Delete
  6. At the mo all our family either live round the corner/ with us or within a couple of hours journey so we host most on Christmas Day with a few staying over and the rest on Boxing Day. It's manic for about a week but I love it and I'll cherish it for as long as it lasts lol x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish the US had a day three-boxing day, option. It seems like the fun is there, but the pressure (self imposed) is gone. enjoy Wendy.

      Delete
  7. Robb always talks about having a Skype Thanksgiving where you don't have to leave home at all. Just set a bunch of laptops around...
    I'm not agreeing with it...
    And our best Christmas ever was when we all came down with the flu and had to call everyone to stay away. BEST CHRISTMAS EVER! We were feeling like solid food by Christmas night and it was the quietest and most peaceful time with us and just our kids.. nice...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that is a positive way to look at Christmas illness. I wouldn't go for the Skype thing either-where's the food?

      Delete
  8. I love your perspective. I've been lucky and have always spent Christmas with my family (rather than trading off with M, as his parents are out of the country). We really enjoy the time together, but I know it's unlikely my kids will always have that option. We've done well each year to continually refocus our time together to be about just that (oh, and great food & drinks ;-)) vs gifts & money spent.

    ReplyDelete

Join the conversation. Your respectful comments are welcome. Spam and advertising products or services without permission will be deleted, as will anything deemed hurtful to others. A change, I moderate comments older than three days to be sure I read them all and stay ahead of the spam. If you're a blogger, feel free to include your blog URL.