Monday, December 24, 2012

Hard to believe it's Christmas...

After one of Kieran's shows this week
Christmas is really strange this year. I had to get all my shopping done before my surgery on December 12. I addressed snail mail holiday cards while I was in the hospital, and I made a few more Christmas gifts while recuperating from surgery. I emerged from the house a couple of days taking a walk on Friday, seeing two of Kieran's last shows on Saturday, and going to Peter Pan last night. I had to cover my ears a few times during Peter Pan, as it was quite loud--but great fun.

Captain Hook Jr. with Peter Pan
I spent much of the day yesterday wrapping presents (which wore me out a bit--I think from doing a lot of standing). I'm feeling okay--a bit tired with the extra activity--and am hoping to start gradually weaning myself from the pain meds soon. For the most part, I am feeling better each day and am looking forward to getting my energy back.

Captains Hook
This Christmas I'm feeling ambivalent...this is the first year in many, many years that we have not gathered with extended family for Christmas Eve. The only times I remember not getting together were times we've been in England, the year Chris came home from the NICU, and the year that we were all snowed in. The reality is that I might not feel up to gathering with a large group of family members, I realize, since I'm still recovering.

Aunt Barbara at the last Christmas she hosted,
with my Aunt Terry
My Aunt Barbara, who hosted Christmas for as long as I can remember, died this year of melanoma, and her husband, my dad's oldest brother, is suffering from Alzheimer's. Christmas also used to consist of a lot of alcohol, including a generic gift exchange in which alcohol gifts were extremely popular. But now many of our family members are affected by alcoholism, and sadly, there are divisions among many of my cousins. Last year we got together, but it was sad because my Aunt Barbara and Uncle John were not able to make it.

Nicholas with his second cousins
This year we will celebrate with my sister and her family, my parents, and my brother and his girlfriend. We will attend Christmas Eve service at our own church for the first time ever. (Mike reminds me that he attended Christmas Eve at our church the year that Chris came home from the NICU, while I stayed at home with him.) We usually visit other Lutheran churches in the area on Christmas Eve, because our church always has services at 5:00 p.m., which is usually the time our family meets. We are usually the only branch of the family that attends church on Christmas Eve. I'm looking forward to attending our own church this evening.

Some of the cousins and spouses
I feel so blessed with my family and friends, and I realize that we might have to create some new traditions for Christmas. I've always felt so fortunate that I live close to most of my family, so we can celebrate the holidays with them. I get the feeling that Mike and I are sadder about this change than the rest of my cousins. I'm not sure why that is. We will have to find new ways to celebrate. So I'm ambivalent. I'm so glad that I feel up to celebrating and spending time with my family, even if I have to limit the time somewhat so I won't overdo it. I'm looking forward to focusing my attention on my immediate extended family, while missing the larger extended family.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

With my honey on Christmas Eve 2010


  1. Merry Christmas Marie! So glad you're on the mend from your most recent surgery. Yes, we have to create new traditions at various periods in our lives. I still miss Christmas eve with my family in Portland area - we'd open one gift after dinner, then go downtown Portland for the 11 pm candlelight service at the First Presbyterian Church (beautiful!). Home late with happy. Being single most of my adult life, I now have no particular Christmas Eve tradition. Some years I go to some friends for dinner, some years I invite other childless friends or even family to go out to dinner, and one year I was home alone sick. tonight I'm going to some friends for dinner. Will be nice and low key. Then I'll come home, put a log on the fireplace, and watch a movie (ideally It's a Wonderful Life, but unless it's on tV, I'll be watching My Best Friend's Wedding).

  2. Thanks Jill--yes, I suppose we are unusual in having a standard family tradition every year. That's why it's hard to adapt, but I think it will be okay!