Every year since I was born I have opened presents on Christmas Eve amidst the frenzy of the Ritz Family. Every year since my first born joined the frenzy, my children have been showered (I mean torrential rain-showered) with generous (copious) amounts of gifts from their generous and slightly indulgent aunts and uncles on the Ritz side.
This year, we will spend Christmas Eve in New Jersey…alone.
Not really alone. We will join the extended Kings for a meal at a fire house. It will be fun. There will be plenty of merriment. The extended Kings bear a strong resemblance to the Ritzs.
But my children will not be showered and I will not be home.
I have acted happy about this. Truthfully, I am a happy about this. I am excited to start new traditions with my little family. I feel like our Christmas traditions are largely those that have been imposed by our extended family. This year, we will make OUR traditions. They will include haircuts, new pajamas, hot dogs and Jiffy Pop. I am excited for it. My kids are excited for it.
But I will miss the chaos. As much as I dreaded it when we lived there. As much as I wished we could skip it-the madness and the overindulgence. This year I will miss it. I will miss my nephews and the hilarity that surrounds them. I will miss the saxophone concert that we seem to force on my nephew Wes every year. I will miss Wes’s parents. I won’t see them at all over the holiday for the first time that I can remember. I will miss my brother and his wife. I used to sit in a corner with my sister-in-law and try to sneak in a few words before the explosion of gifts and speed eating. I love to watch my brother interact with my kids-always so proud of the silly gifts he picked out himself. My kids adore my brother and his wife, and I adore that.
I will see three of the sisters tomorrow when they make the trek to New Jersey for what my husband has aptly named The Great Roast Beast. I am so grateful for that. It makes it all a bit easier. I love those girls and I love to host a party. And thus the children will have a bit of overindulgence just a day late.
But we won’t see the rest and we won’t see Kevin’s parents or siblings at all this year and that is equally hard. Christmas day will be absent of the 12 days singing and multi-generations of revelers. It will be quiet around these parts.
I know there are people who do it all the time because of differences in space and time. I know there are thousands of men and women who are protecting our freedom who won’t spend the holiday with any family other than their military family. I understand that in the grand scheme of things, I have it pretty darn good.
But for just a minute this morning as I get ready for a whole new type of Christmas, I am just a little bit sad for what I will miss.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.