A dear friend shared with me the other day that, once she finally understood that all holidays could be a “movable feast,” she really began to enjoy this time of year.
As we get older, things change. Some things get easier, but some things get more complex and seem really, really difficult.
Changes in family traditons over the holidays can feel like a loss, but we can make the decision to see things differently. If we can surrender our grip on what the holidays are “supposed to” look like, we have a better shot at enjoying the celebrations.
Remember when you were younger and someone in the generation right above you just had to make a stink about where and when you were showing up to eat or visit or go to church or whatever?
I don’t want to be that person for my children or the people they love.
It’s time to accept it — the kids are growing up and moving on. They love new people and those people have their own holiday traditions and schedules. Or perhaps there are step-families and bonus families to love and spend time with, and that really adds to the scheduling challenges, conflicts, and potential drama.
People live in other states, in other countries, and air travel over the holidays is difficult and expensive. People have jobs that may or may not allow enough time to get away for the holidays. Or perhaps the people we love just don’t want to use their hard-earned time and money to come visit during this crazy time of year.
And as I watch all this swirl around me, I remember the look of disdain on the faces of those whom I was trying to please all those years ago and I just can’t bring myself to repeat that power-play on the younger ones in my family.
I don’t really care what day I get to love on my guys and those they love. I want them to feel love and joy wherever they go, and if I can add to that by “freeing them” to go somewhere else on any given day, I’m going to do that. (By the way, they’re not mine to “free.”)
It will be a quiet holiday at our house this year. One of my man-cubs is going here, the other two are going there. Two of my three bonus man-cubs still haven’t checked in with their plans, and to all that I say, “Whatever!”
The Italian and I will wake up on Thanksgiving morning, share some coffee, and talk about how lucky we are to be making this big new adventure together.
At some point, over the next few days, I suppose some of his and some of mine will make their way to our house and I will cook something for all of them and they will do the dishes.
I’m thankful. I’m surrendered. I’m letting people – including myself – off the hook about holiday expectations.
I’m completely dodging the “resentment bullet” about what this holiday season is supposed to look like. And I’ve made a commitment to allow myself to feel peace and gratitude and joy no matter what anyone else is or isn’t doing over the coming weeks.
I’m not giving guilt and I’m not receiving it either.
Who knew? It was my choice all along.
P.S. I wish you every joy this holiday season. If you’d like, please share something you’re grateful for this holiday season in the comments below. I’ll start – “I’m thankful for Beautiful You. I didn’t know you last year. And I’m so happy we’ve met!”
Photo: flickr, Robert S. Donovan