Throwback Thursday #1

So, I’ve decided to start doing “Throwback Thursday” and repost one of my favorite past posts, in case someone missed it. Today, I selected my post at “random” based on the post with the most views of all time.

The original post is here. New thoughts are in parentheses down below:

I’ve spent quite of bit of time today feeling like this Christmas has been a failure of epic proportions. Christmas has always meant so much to me, and I have traditions for my boys that are very near and dear to my heart. Plus, this is the third Christmas I’ve been single, and if you had asked me in 2009 how long I thought I’d be single, I would have said something about how I wanted to be single and planned on spending my life that way.

As for Christmas traditions with my boys…we have a special nativity set that I love to share with them and it never got unpacked – we usually work on it the week leading up to Christmas. Then, on Christmas morning….there is a magic to reading the story of the birth of Christ and then watching them open presents. It didn’t happen that way this year. Christmas happened a week early for us, and it was rushed. Thankfully I have my little sister, my “twin” sister by adoption and our adoptive Mama to spend time with. My boys also spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day away from home.

Why are these traditions so important, and how does missing them make Christmas feel like such an epic failure?

Because the traditions we establish ground our families and help us remember who we are and what is important to us. Traditions allow us a familiarity in life that helps us cope with the changes that often take us by surprise. They allow us to pass values down to our children, and they give us a foundation for basing our celebrations and family times on. When all else falls by the wayside, traditions are there to help us keep a grasp on life.

Yes, this is one of my romantic notions for life….

(Wow. As a re-read my own words, I remember how lonely I was feeling Christmas 2011. It was hard to be without the boys, too. I survived that Christmas, and even have some wonderful memories that I look back on. Now, I’m remarried and Christmas 2012 was spent trying to blend traditions with my wonderful husband and our kids. I hope you enjoyed this first Throwback Thursday!)

 

Blending…

I have the honor and privilege of being part of a blended family, and most days I see a lot of beauty in the ways we all work together, play together and live together. And there is generally an awesome level of respect between my guy and I and the way we handle situations differently with the boys. We know we won’t always agree, but we are able to find compromise and even give up the reins and say “You got this one,” when necessary.

I never put much thought into differing Christmas traditions until the season rolled around, sneaking up on me and catching me by surprise. (How does December do that, anyway?!) The holiday season is something I love, and I think Thanksgiving is my favorite until I break out the nativity scene and Christmas tree, then I think Christmas is my favorite. But I’ve always been a little weird about Christmas.

We don’t do Santa. And the only thing that ever made me kind of wish we did, is the silly little Elf on a Shelf, because that is just one seriously cool idea! Back to a serious note, I have some very strong beliefs and opinions about Christmas celebrations. While I’ve always wanted the boys to have presents, I try to not sell out to the idea of giving them everything they could possibly want each year. I like a modest Christmas, with a few gifts and a lot of celebration. I think the biggest reason I don’t include Santa in our celebrations is because Santa is one of those very first things we ask kids to put their faith in…a sight unseen, full of magic, delivering presents, and that’s a lot of faith in something or someone, for him to not be real.

I’ve always told the boys to respect how other people celebrate Christmas, because I believe in treating others the way we want to be treated. I’ve shared with them stories about St. Nick, and how I believe that that man wanted Jesus to get the credit because Jesus was the reason he was generous.

I have gotten plenty of “you’re crazy” looks, along with opinions that wildly differ and people have even said I take it too far. But, I love our Christmas traditions. I don’t think we are missing anything by not having Santa visit. And yet, I’ve never had to defend my position or find a balance with someone who likes having Santa as part of the tradition.

This is a whole new ball game.

I wondered, for a minute, if we could put a duct tape line down the middle of the house and let Santa visit “that” half of the house and have a Santa-free Christmas on “this” half of the house. But division solves nothing. And what about when this sweet baby girl gets here? Do I get her one year on the non-Santa side, and he gets her one year on the Santa side? It’s kind of a funny thought, and sometimes I laugh at the wild, not so practical ideas I have to solve the dilemma.

But the truth is, at the very heart of this, I am torn, and struggling. I am actually dreading this season more than I care to admit, and it may have less to do with the season and more to do with dreading conflict. For the first time ever, I feel awkward about my position on Christmas, and I am not happy to see the two little guys getting confused over things that I believe so strongly in. But it’s not just about seeing the two littles confusion, I feel like a lump of coal or a gray cloud hanging over the oldest’s idea of Christmas. Who am I to take away from the things he or his daddy love about Christmas? I think, if I could just put this season on pause, and slow down the whirlwind, I would. Because finding common ground between my ideas of a non-consumerist, non-commercialism, non-Santa Christmas, and a very cultural, typical American Christmas feels impossible.

I love blending our family together and I’ve learned so much this year. I respect my guy more now than we first started this journey, and I love our life together. I am beyond thankful for the blessings we have and share, and I know we’ll figure this one out too. I just pray that the kids see bigger lessons than whether or not Santa is real, as we figure this out. I pray they learn something about compromise, about common ground, about respect and how to build a strong family instead of how to tear one down.