The last time we spent Christmas at home we spent it as a family of five. We had no idea, of course, that it would be our last one together. I’m not sure we would have done anything much differently. We cut down our tree and visited with Santa and kept to our usual traditions.
This will be our first Christmas at home as a family of four. The last two years we have headed out of town as soon as school let out and celebrated Christmas by waking up at the beach or in Disney World. I thought I was creating new traditions for the kids, but in reality, I think I was the one who wanted to escape from it all. We bought an artificial tree. We bought a lot of new decorations so that we didn’t have to dive too deep into the memory laden old ones. We went away so that we didn’t have to wake up at home navigating the present unwrapping and Christmas breakfast without our biggest of elves.
Last year when we woke up Christmas morning to giraffes roaming outside of our window the kids decided that they would like to be home for this Christmas. I have tried to honor their needs and wants first and foremost throughout this process and so we will be waking up here Christmas morning.
But it is hard.
I have shopped. Alone. Dave and I would always have a date night/dinner out/shop for the kids evening.
I have signed things “From: Mom”.
I have cried in the car thinking about Christmases past. Dave was such a considerate gift giver, enthusiastic Christmas specials watcher, and spirited eggnog drinking decorator.
I have put off buying stocking stuffers. I remember one year when Dave wasn’t feeling particularly well that as he was filling my stocking he looked around and was searching through bags. He had forgotten to pick up the rest of the items on his list but only realized it when it was much too late. I reassured. I didn’t care.
I am trying to imagine Christmas morning. Dave and I would head downstairs first torturing the kids while we lit the tree and started the coffee and got the camera ready. After all the gift giving Dave would make us all an enormous breakfast.
We will manage. But we will be missing him.
I think that might be subconsciously why I waited so long to plan our post-Christmas trip. So that during the most Christmas-y days I would have something else on which to focus. Some days it works better than others.
We will manage. And we will find the laughter. And we will be missing him.