The second was last year when we were supposed to move to Boston a couple of months later and decided to stay put and do a later celebration (which never happened). And this year after spending a glorious two month stint in Rochester over the summer, we are staying put yet again.
Leading up to today, I have filled my thoughts with all the plusses to having Christmas in Los Angeles. No holiday travel. No long lines at the airport. No waiting three hours to get through security with a child and a dog only to find out our flight is cancelled and we get to do it all again in two days – this happened the last time we went home for Christmas and I’m still recovering. (And yes, we bring our dog…and yes, we are a three-ring circus through the airport.) No sleeping in a twin size bed while Micah sleeps on the floor and Avery refuses to sleep in the make shift portable crib I’m pretty sure was recalled in the 80s, but my mom insists is still AOK. Getting to have Christmas morning in our house. Starting our own family traditions.
I have clung to these ideas since Thanksgiving. But, as I wake up today on Christmas Eve, though my house is full of love, I still feel a little empty. I went to the Grove yesterday (an insane and dangerous feat) solely to try to feel the hustle and bustle. I craved the chaos that marks the tail end of the Christmas season. While my house is definitely far from quiet…it somehow feels very very quiet this time of year.
My parents gave me a framed Anne Geddes photo when I went away to college (which is creepy on many levels). I never displayed because, well, who wants to befriend the weirdo with a framed photo of a random baby in her dorm room? But, I did keep it, and it is now proudly displayed in my son’s bedroom. On it, it says, “there are two lasting bequests we can give our children: one is roots, the other is wings”. I always knew my parents gave me wings as I have used them to fly far and wide both figuratively and literally. But, as time passes and life seems to simultaneously move faster and become shorter, I am realizing more and more that the roots they gave me run deep.
So, today I am homesick. Today, I miss the chaos, the noise, the bickering, the laughter, the memories of my childhood. But, instead of dwelling on that, I will FaceTime too many times with my family, and fill my day with far too much holiday cheer. I will focus on starting to give my son roots so deep he feels empty when he’s not at home and wings so strong he can fly without fear.
Here is what our ‘new’ little Christmas Eve tradition will (attempt to) look like. We will get up and go on a family walk in the crisp, cool Los Angeles air. We might head back to the Grove to catch some more of the hustle and bustle and one last glimpse of the jolly man. We will decorate gingerbread houses. We will make cookies for Santa. We will go to Christmas Eve church service (the kid friendly one). We will come home, open up one present (jammies and a new book). We’ll curl up and watch a Christmas classic. We’ll set out Santa’s cookies and milk and carrots for the reindeer. We’ll sing Christmas Carols and read Christmas books. We’ll attempt to get Avery to sleep sometime before 10pm. Then we will stay up until all hours of the night putting together a bike, a train and a couple other toys with far too many parts and not enough directions. I will ultimately fire Micah at some point because he is not the most helpful ‘elf’ when it comes to putting things together. I will not be able to sleep because I will be too excited for Christmas. I will go to bed with a full heart and a day full of memories.
All of this may happen, or none of it may happen. But no matter what, today will be filled with love, fun, laughter and new memories. It’s 6am and I already hear the pitter patter of Avery’s feet running through the house looking for Gordon, his “silly elf”, so I will end with this…Have a very Merry Christmas full of love and memories. Whether you are in an overflowing house or having a quiet family Christmas away from “home” fill your day with holiday cheer and find the joy in celebrating however that looks for you this year. There will be plenty more Christmases to celebrate differently if you choose, but this year, enjoy where you are.