(Photos for my melancholy post, are taken from my iphone and from years past; all unedited. WARNING: some may be blurry, and their may be possible red eye. I know, not your typical JandA thing to do; but tonight I’m keeping it real)
(P.S. I must say these photos brought back so many feelings; I am thankful for them. Some made me smile, some laugh, and some even cry. I hope you enjoy this little photo journey too.)
I love the holidays. I love everything about this time of year.
Twelve years ago, I celebrated my first Christmas as a mom.
I wish I had a picture, but pictures weren’t digital then; at least not for me.
(Our earliest Digital Christmas photo; red eyes and all. 2003)
You can tell I’m being lazy about editing pictures tonight huh? I’m giving it all I got tonight.
Twelve years ago, we started our families traditions.
…as the years have gone on, we have added to them.
We have added some pretty fun traditions over the years.
(Christmas 2012; Max the elf replaces stocking with underwear.)
The one tradition that I didn’t expect to add is: that my kids would grow older.
I DIDN’T AGREE TO THAT.
I didn’t add it too my lists, and I certainly didn’t write it in my Christmas planner.
I’m feeling a little melancholy about it to tell you the truth.
About 4 years ago, I was in this heavenly stage of life.
Don’t get me wrong, all the stages have had their heavenly parts.
I just don’t think I realized how great I had it 4 years ago, or 5 years ago, or even 6 years ago.
4 years ago, I had 4 kids ranging in age from 1 to 8.
I had all of the believing in Santa and the magic of Christmas.
My 8 year old and 6 year old still went to bed at 8:00pm(sometimes 7:30pm.)
This meant reading a Christmas story to them before bed each night was easy.
They came home from school each day and had a snack, and we would hang out.
They had very little homework, which left time for building gingerbread houses and making snowflakes.
We could hop in the car and go for a drive to see the lights because they didn’t have to practice the piano, go to competitive baseball practice, or dance until 8:45pm.
(Christmas 2012-indoor snowball fight)
We had time to have indoor snowball fights, drink hot chocolate, and make cookies; all because there were less demands on our family.
(Present time-2014; I make cookies alone while kids are at school and Tess recovers from her tonsillectomy)
In years past, every single child would go with us to deliver homemade goodies to our neighbors.
This year, only our youngest 2 were available to knock on doors and say, “Merry Christmas.”
Too be honest, I can’t even remember where the older 2 children were.
Oh! Yes, I remember; dance recital rehearsal and private baseball lessons.
I know you are all thinking to yourself, “you chose to put your children in each of these things.”
Yes, your right, we did. But, it’s the way the world works now. Everything so much more competitive than it was when we were children.
And, let’s be honest, I did not know when I signed cute little 10 year old and 5 year old up for dance that said recital would be on the 16th of December. What mother wants to be dealing with that during December?
My solution: Let’s watch little cuties dance in February when we can’t smile or get out of bed because winter has sucked us in to it’s deep dark abyss of depression. I think a 5 year old in a tu-tu shaking her groove thing would be enough to suck me right back out. That just might be something I add to my comment card for said dance instructor.
I know that life changes and I know that outside demands come with older children, I just feel a little melancholy for our 7 year old and 5 year old who don’t get the time for the same traditions that the older children had.
Although things change, there have been some new changes to our traditions that have added great feelings to our holiday.
Now that our children our older we have been able to take them to some plays. They are old enough to sit through them.
This year, we went to Michael Mclean’s Forgotten Carols. This is a favorite of mine. A tradition from my childhood or more likely teenage years. It was so awesome to finally share it with our children.
We also went to see Juanito Bandito’s Christmas Carol. This was pee your pants funny. I enjoyed seeing my kids laugh.
One of the things that hasn’t changed are the memories that we have from previous years.
The words I have loved to hear this year, “Oh, I remember that” or, “this is one of my favorite books.”
It’s nice to have them say things like, “mom when are you going to make your Christmas carmels; they are my favorite” or, “are you going to make those green mints this year?”
It’s fun to see them race around the house looking for our elf Maximus.
Isaac hops out of bed in the morning to find him. Isaac doesn’t hop out of bed really for anything. He usually grumbles and kicks about that, but Max has the magic touch.
(Max asking the kids if they want to go skiing; Jonathan’s invention- 2014)
One tradition that is easy to follow through with is their chocolate countdown calendars. That tradition is all on them. I was brilliant when I started this one. There is no help required from me, although I do enjoy telling Tess each day what numbers to look for and open.
This year has been one of learning and growing for me as I realize that I can’t expect to do all that we have done in the past.
I learn that I can’t list my expectations for the season out on our advent calendar for our children to read through.
Then my children expect them to happen, as they should.
I can’t always follow through, our life doesn’t permit that right now.
I learn that I don’t want to be that mom that says, “we will have to do that one tomorrow.”
There are lots of things piling up on my tomorrows.
I learn that I can’t expect to read a book to my kids every night. It doesn’t work to read a book to sleepy children at 11pm when you get home from a play, or your older children that roll in from dance or scouts at 9:00pm. Then you feed them dinner. Yes! folks! dinner! Now it is 10pm, and once again too late for a 5 year old, and little dancers to keep their peepers open.
I learn that next year, I will wrap only a handful of books. I won’t label them with a date, like I have in the past.
We will unwrap any book that they choose, and read on the nights we can.
I have learned that we will plan to do hot chocolate, gingerbread houses, and toilet paper snow ball fights over their holiday break.
We will do this when we are all home without any outside demands.
I have learned we drink hot chocolate on the fly with luke warm water because we have no time to let it cool. It’s 10pm and bed time.
I’m melancholy about these changes. It feels like the end of an era.
I know there is good to come, and many wonderful memories to be made.
Sometimes a mamma just misses her baby babies, and the simple times at home with them. When life required staying home because one or two of them napped.
Now in the present, I have grown-up babies with chaotic times in the car, and minimal napping. And when I say napping, then only one napping around here is me; and I mean minimally. Why is it that kids despise naps, and grown-ups adore them?
I’m learning t0 cherish all the moments, including times in the car.
It’s time to start the tradition of singing Christmas carols as we travel too and fro; in the beat-up mini-van.
Will you all tell Santa to bring me a new car for Christmas?
I’m learning to roll with the changes, and adapt to the needs of our family.
I recently read this quote on a letter from a friend (thanks Chelsey):
“When you have children; the days are long, and the years are short.”
I’m learning to cherish the days, because my years with them are much too short.
(Christmas on Saba 2005)
Merry Christmas Y’all.
Enjoy a wonderful holiday full of moments you treasure.
I challenge you to find a way to record those moments. Take a picture, write something down in a journal, share something via instagram or facebook, or write a letter to your children about your memories.
Don’t let your memories fade away. Memories can be cherished when they are recorded and our mind can go back to reflect upon them.
Thank you for being here and sharing this year with us at JandA&Co.
My New Years resolution is to record more of our memories, and be accepting of change.
What are yours?
(Oh, and as per my husbands request; cook more.)