Thanksgiving, Christmas, Holidays have changed soooooo just in the past few years. My oldest two sons are married and have children of their own, homes of their own and, of course, ‘IN LAWS.’ (We will not mention, nor acknowledge that I and Keith are also ‘IN LAWS’,, we ARE NOT talking about that!! 😉 ) So now, my boys, who in the past, had no other place to be, but sitting with their father at the head of the family table and feasting on their mothers good cooking at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, have responsibilities to be at the head of their own families, cutting their own turkey’s, making their own traditions.
We are invited and included much of the time, and sometimes not. Sometimes the holiday is meant to be shared with ‘the others’. Do I have issue? Honestly? OF COURSE! Should I? Of course, NOT. I must recall the holiday’s of Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving past, before we were parent-in-laws. Even if I do not want to. We hosted the majority of the holiday events, because Keith was insistent that we be in our home,( a tradition our children have taken on) we could invite everyone, mine and his, but he wanted it in his home. My parents always accepted and sometimes a brother or two would come. Keith’s family sometimes came, if they were not visiting another child’s home. We shared holidays with Keith’s sister and brother’s family a few times each. One time we went to his brothers and my parents were invited and came also. And then there was the Thanksgiving that my newly found Biological Fathers family came, and Keith’s sister, and my brother, and both Keith and my parents. That was AMAZING.
Keith’s parents have always lived in the same town as we do, so we had a standing invitation to them for all events we had, I thought. Now, that I am parent-in law, I wonder if that was just my understanding, and we should have made it more ‘formal’ . Keith has always said they did not do holidays the same as my family. Christmas did not have the same traditions for them as I had.
- Opened one night before Christmas present , of pajamas.
- Opened ALL other presents Christmas morning.
- Had ‘Santa Clause’ presents waiting for us, unwrapped and sparkly and shiny with stockings filled with nuts and orange and apple and a few trinkets, sitting beside the lite tree.
- Waited until everyone was awake and in robes, and Dad was positioned in the living room with camera rolling, so he could film the looks of glee on each of our faces as we first saw our Santa loot.
- Passed out presents to each person, before EVERYONE tearing into them at the same time
- Ate Christmas dinner as a midday meal.
Keith’s family did not do all of this. Keith said he talked his mom into letting him open all of his present’s one day before Christmas, while his dad was still at work, just a random day before Christmas. When I heard this, I knew MY way MY traditions obviously held higher reverence.
We did make our own traditions, adjusting mine and his from childhood, to what fit our family now. We kept the pajamas on Christmas Eve. Added taco soup and tamales. We staged Santa gifts, till the kids ‘figured’ it out, then just the stockings. We didn’t make the kids wait for my parents to get up to see their Santa Loot. Christmas dinner is at 1PM, (Daughters in Law and I are trying to convince Keith Christmas Evening Dinner would be a great NEW tradition) We attend candlelight service every Christmas Eve.
My childhood Thanksgiving has its own set of traditions. Turkey, dressing, mid afternoon, Stovetop dressing, turkey, ham, green beans with mushroom soup, homemade whip cream. My grandparents, if they were not with one of the other 2 daughters families. Many times we went to my grandparents, and the sisters and their families would join us, THESE were amazing.
It is the THESE, that I strive for, I WANT every holiday. I forget that the THESE only occurred a few times. The times all grown sibling families were able to come together under one roof,were NOT every holiday, but they are the remembered and treasured times. The holidays that included a spattering of family, just grandparents, just immediate family, are the times ‘the others’ had every one of theirs under one roof. The times the ‘others’ were celebrating with old traditions and making new.
This Thanksgiving, I will I sit down at my grandmothers dining table, in my dining room, that I built and painted and decorated exactly like I wanted; at 1:10, the traditional time Keith chooses, in our home we built together. I will see the faces of my husband for 30 years, my youngest son Evan, my mother in law Mary Lou and my oldest brother Mike and his wife Jenny, who will be visiting our new home for the first time.. I will be thankful for all the blessings that God has for me; I have grown sons, with wives that love them and cook gluten free meals for they and their children. I have daughter in-laws who shop for hams and turkeys with the monies my son’s earn. My daughters in law will prepare all the favorites for my son’s They will whip cream into ‘whoop’ as their children (my grandchildren) watch. I have 6 grandchildren who have grandparents and aunts and uncles, who do not share my DNA, but do share theirs, who desire to have them sitting across the table from them saying ‘AMEN’. They are grandparents who mourn, when they can not see or experience the ‘special times’ with their grandchildren, because they are with ‘the other’, which is me, when it is my turn. I have memories to treasure and memories to make.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!