“Mom, we always have the tree in the front room. I like it because we can listen to Christmas music and I spend a lot of time in there just looking at the tree. I like looking at the tree when we are eating dinner in the dining room.”
This was my youngest son, David’s response to the Christmas tree coming out yesterday for decorating.
It had been my daughter’s and my intention to switch the tree’s location this year to the family room where the family sits together often. We often enjoy a fire in that room that warms us up and we snuggle together under blankets (and now quilts) that provide us comfort. It was just for a change. This season seemed to be full of change so why not the tree too?
What will be the same this season and what will be different? It is difficult to anticipate – and almost frightening to predict. So much of our lives right now depend on how Mom is feeling. I really cannot make any plans beyond the moment since I never know if the day will be a “Day Five” or not – if you know what I mean.
The tradition of the Advent calendar has proceeded as usual and, I think, much to my daughter’s surprise and delight. I wondered as do many parents, if the kids were getting too old for the calendar. Nope. They are not. Tradition trumps age bar none!
The creche scene remains packed but is eagerly anticipating its 2014 debut. Where to put it? Well, practically speaking, that one is a no-brainer since there are not many open spaces other than the buffet.
Some traditions will be easy to keep. Others…
What of the dinner?
What of the guests?
What of the news that will surround my treatments over the holidays?
What of the staff parties?
What of Christmas morning?
There are so many unknowns. I guess they are always unknowns, or should be -to be honest since no one knows what the future will bring.
There are so many changes. I guess that is to be expected too. Our first major family shift was the absence of Mom in 2010. It was a Christmas I did NOT want to arrive. I did not want to decorate or even observe the season. Mom always bought the kids their Christmas pyjamas and they were always a hit. We would open them together -with Nanna and Poppa – and all of us would anticipate the joy of the simple unwrapping of the predictable gifts. Nanna had great taste in pj’s for the kids and they were ALWAYS surprised. we would share a glass of wine or two, a few nibblies, and then it was time to part ways. Mom and Dad would go home to sleep to be prepared for the festivities to begin again the next morning.
No matter how hard I try, though, I just cannot seem to get it right with the pyjamas to the degree whereby it is expected the kids will get “ugly” pyjamas for Christmas from Mom. Some things just cannnot be. Things do change.
Mom and Kevin also used to fight over who would be cooking the stuffing as each felt his/her own was the best. It was a friendly fight — anchored in pride! The stuffing gloves came off every Christmas and this was expected.
There are no fights over stuffing these days. I am out of the kitchen and Kevin is left un-taunted to do his stuffing tricks.
Dad spent Christmas Eve and morning with us when Mom passed away. Since he had such great trouble with his mobility it was always a concern about how he was to get upstairs to bed to sleep at night.
“Don’t worry, Stacey”, he said to me the last Christmas Eve he was with us. “I have it all figured out. I lay in my bed in the morning before I get up and figure things out by myself. I will go up the stairs on my hands and knees and down on my bum.”. Sure enough – he did. The kids still remember this and that Poppa had it all planned out on his own.
What will become of our traditions this year? What will the kids remember most about Christmas 2014? I really don’t want the culture of cancer to anywhere near our traditions. Cancer is invasive enough –
I pray… for a “normal” Christmas peppered with new tradition. It has to be. How can Christmas ever be the same? Nothing stays the same – why should it? Yet, the traditions are like straws that I grasp at to keep the kids from growing up, to keep us from growing old, and to feel stable in an environment of uncertainty.
So, the location of the Christmas tree? I think it will start in the family room, where we will decorate it. Let’s see how it looks. Then, if we want, we can always move it to its traditional place in the front room. We will play it by ear – maybe “go on a limb” and “branch out” to create new traditions which have not yet “taken root” in history.