Sunday, December 25, 2016

I Miss The Old Christmas And I Love The New Christmas!

It's just me, a cup of coffee and A Christmas Story this morning.  My beautiful bride of 25 years is still nestled upstairs all snug in her bed while I in my slippers sit here gazing at a lonely lit tree listening to Ralphie's father wield a tapestry of obscenities that is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan today.

Years ago, we could not see the bottom half of the tree on Christmas morning, thanks to the skyline of presents neatly stacked by Santa and his younger, drunker elves.  This morning, there are but a couple of stray presents leftover that were opened last night by our now grown children, along with four wrapped gifts that are destined for other homes later today.

This morning, as it has been the past few years, there were no excited, wondering eyes of a little girl waking up the tired, wondering eyes of her older brother while it was still dark outside.  There was no rush of two pajama clad kiddos to Mom and Dad's bed carrying their stockings full of loot that Santa left outside their bedroom doors.  Even after they learned the heartless truth that their parents lied to them about the man in the red suit, they would still come into our room every year, stir us from our long winter's nap just to open their stockings on our bed.

I miss that.  I miss seeing toys circled in the sales flyers.  I miss the frantic, dizzying but exciting trips to Toys R Us.  I miss buying presents that were so big that we had to hide them at the Robinson's house until Christmas Eve.  I miss building trampolines and bicycles and doll houses.  I miss watching them empty their stockings through sleepy, half mast eyes.  I miss going downstairs first to make the coffee and get the camera ready.  I miss staying home on Christmas Day, just the four of us, playing with new toys and video games, eating leftovers and running to 7-11 to buy the batteries we forgot.

We opened presents on Christmas Eve for the first time ever.  I did not like the idea, but our changing lives demanded it.  And it was actually okay.  No, it wasn't okay.  It was awesome.  After the company left, it was just the four of us.  Chris muddled himself an Old Fashioned.  Jess mixed herself a tall glass of something raspberry.  Kim had a glass of wine, and I a beer.  The stockings were stuffed and magically brought downstairs to the living room.  Then it was time to hand out the presents... they both got four this year:  Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read.  It was simple, but perfect.  And yet, not everything changed.  For as long as I can remember, each year, Kim buys a game for the family to play.  This year was no different.  It's called Speak Out and it involves a contraption that contorts your mouth into ridiculousness.  If you haven't seen it, Google it.  Let's just say that the four of us have never laughed so hard together.  

So, while I do miss the excitement and tradition of having young ones at Christmas time, I could not be more blessed with the way that those years that have come before have shaped this year and the years to come.  Traditions will change.  It's unavoidable.  So be sure to take hold of that what is constant, the people in your life, and embrace the new traditions together!

The tired, wondering eyes of that little boy opened this morning and went off to work.  And when we see those eyes later today, we will have Christmas with him.  The excited, wondering eyes of that little girl are still closed this morning.  And when they open, we will have Christmas with her.  The ever so beautiful eyes of my still nestled bride will soon come downstairs and together we will have Christmas.  You see, traditions do not define Christmas.  Family defines Christmas.  And I love Christmas!!!

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