In the 13 Christmases that have come and gone during our marriage, the hubby and I have travelled back to the city of our formative years and spent the holiday with our families 11 times. Only twice since we had kids did we actually stay in our own home.
The first time, Peanut was one or two and by 11 in the morning, the hubby and I were staring at each other wondering, what now? I’m not sure if that’s why we decided the following year to go back up or not, but I’m sure it had something to do with it. Pumpkin’s first Christmas, we stayed here, too. He was only a month and a half old and traveling with both kids was just too much for us to handle at that point. That year went much better. We were kept busy by caring for a newborn, enjoying Peanut who better understood Christmas and friendly neighbors who invited us to brunch with their family.
Then last year, we went back up again. As we packed up all the Santa presents in the dead of the night so that the kids wouldn’t see them and struggled to fit everything plus all the kids’ gifts from the family back into the trunk at trip’s end, I turned to the hubby and said two words: Never. Again.
Yet, there I was this summer, looking ahead and figuring, maybe we should go back up again. The pull of my niece on her first Christmas was a powerful tug.
As Thanksgiving approached, we avoided the topic. We put it off. We constantly agreed to talk about it “later.” When Thanksgiving passed and we entered into December, we finally sat down and talked it through. Pros. Cons. Reality. And decided to stay home for the holidays. Well, at least for Christmas day.
I heard Perry Como crooning “Home for the Holidays” today on the radio and I nearly felt that tug of guilt again. “See?” I said to myself. “You’re supposed to want to go home for the holidays. The traffic sounds nostalgic. The pumpkin pie would be homemade…wait, what? My mom never made pumpkin pie.”
Sure, we’ll miss providing my parents with the Christmas morning magic that kids bring, but we’ll be giving our kids the magic of Christmas morning in their own house. Isn’t there something about waking up in your own bed while the moment dawns on you that this isn’t just any other morning? Something special has happened. Something unexpected is awaiting. Sure, we’ll miss my mom’s excellent Christmas dinner, but I’ll get to make these as a new tradition. And we’ll see everyone, just a few days later.
So, yes, Perry, we will be home for the holidays. Although it feels a little bit selfish, what wish list to Santa isn’t?
This year, we start creating the traditions and the magic and the laughter that will pull my children back home for the holidays when they are grown. That is, until they, too, have to decide it is time they stay home for their own sanity.
But I have a many more Christmases to go before that happens. And I plan on enjoying each and every one of them. Wherever we are.