I remember when my husband and I had to decide who was going to skip their family Christmas for the first time to attend the others. That was an especially difficult Christmas. It hasn’t really gotten easier. Letting go of childhood traditions to create your own has been an interesting journey to say the least. We try to fit into each others childhood traditions and it never really feels right.
What is family? Mother, Father, Children
What happens when those children grow up and get married? When Mother and Father become grandmother and grandfather? What happens when you try to combine in-laws with all of that? Now your brother and sister are married with kids and there are more in-laws than you can count. Mass Confusion.
It sucks growing up. Adulting is hard. Having to navigate the needs of everyone around you, including your own. It’s difficult.
The bottom line is, we aren’t children anymore and it will never be the same. We have to hold on to our memories because we can never replicate those childhood moments as adults as hard as some of us may try. What we can do is give our children memories to take with them the rest of their lives. Those memories hopefully will shape the new memories they make with their families.
After spending years building our little family unit (Me, Justin and our kids) and growing apart and coming together as a couple(repeat x1000), we have opted to start our own family tradition.
We attempted this last year, but as expected, had some push back.
“Holidays are for family.”
It brought us immense guilt to want to celebrate without them. But it also reinforced that YES! HOLIDAYS ARE FOR FAMILY!
You see, we are going on a little FAMILY vacation to the Rocky Mountains. A place that Justin and I dearly love and enjoy for it’s beauty and solitude… and it’s black diamonds. Just me, my husband, and my kids. We are going out to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner (GASP!). We are going to spend much needed time just having fun with each other. Not worrying about laundry or dishes. We are creating a new family tradition.
When our son was born, I felt strongly that we could NOW start his childhood traditions by staying home for Christmas. Not just staying in Colorado, but staying HOME. Waking up Christmas morning to presents under the tree (in my own home)… hot coffee (cocoa) and jammies. Not worrying about putting a bra on. Not worrying about drinking the last cup of coffee because we don’t know how to work the coffee maker or how to make the perfect pot of coffee each family prefers (watered down or turkish black). Not scheduling a shower around other visitors or asking permission to take a shower because we aren’t really sure when breakfast or presents or other traditions are happening. Not worrying about who has to make breakfast or when the kids will be fed.
Waking up in our own home with our own coffee… and no bras. This is my dream.
The excitement of figuring out what MY family tradition will be has been a ton of fun. This is the part of adulting I can embrace. I can bring in a little of Justin’s memories and a little of my memories and make them brand new for us and for our children.
As I think of us changing it up like this, I think of what Justin’s parents and my parents might be feeling. That’s the hard part. Are we hurting feelings by doing our own thing? Probably. I very much dislike causing hurt feelings. I think of when my kids are older and our little family tradition is no more. I can see how that will be hard for me as a mom to watch my children grow into adults and build their own family traditions with their kids. I do see it. Hopefully I can embrace their choices. Though in this moment in time, I can never imagine them not NEEDING me for every single possible thing. You mean I won’t have to wipe runny noses and poopy butts the rest of my life? This makes me sad. Seriously.
Because I want to cherish each of these moments, we MUST start our family tradition now. I want to experience it as long as possible.
In this statement alone, my guilt is gone. I love our extended families, but this day we choose to celebrate our Thanksgiving together for the first time as a family of four. It may not be your perfect idea of a Thanksgiving tradition, but it is ours.
Now get out there and ADULT THE SHIT out of this holiday season.