I sit here writing - somewhat contemplative, but mostly having arrived in that official "aaaahhhh" moment of the day. The excitement of the day combined with too much good food, Mr. D. and I have separated ourselves from the monkey children, he on his iPad, and I here on my Mac while the children are entertaining themselves with their various forms of Christmas "fun".
I should preface this by saying that I'm absolutely thankful for this day every year. I anticipate it just like a little child - the decorations, the baking, the season full of surprises, and remembering that above it all, we wouldn't be lavishing such love on our family and friends had we not been loved so incredibly ourselves with the birth of a babe 2000 years ago.
But (don't you hate that word?) I find myself slightly melancholy this year. Despite the anticipation leading up to today, I found myself, more than once, feeling a hint of that depression that we will often hear rises up about this time of year.
I have always loved Christmas, and I remember years of growing up with family Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve. Maybe that's where I learned to love Christmas Eve so much - I anticipate it as much as Christmas Day! There were years that we would go to my grandparent's house, or my aunt and uncle, but there were also the years when our house was the place to be, and it was transformed into an amazing holiday party! Christmas music was playing constantly, mom would cook amazing food, and there were years when our family would invite so many people to the house! Grandparents, grandparents friends, aunts, uncles, cousins…I swear there was even one year when it was grandparents, grandparents siblings, and THEIR children - you know, those people that you call "cousin", but probably wouldn't know them if you ran into them on the street? Still - all were welcome to celebrate the season at our home.
Christmas morning was different - always the same, but a different animal altogether. My brother and I would wake up, I'm certain at an hour that was way too early for my parents, though I have no idea why I would ever do that. They never made us wait too long, even though we knew we couldn't start opening gifts until AFTER they had gotten up and given us the green light to go ahead. Grandpa always managed to come over early in the morning as well, to watch us open gifts…he never stayed long, but he always came. After presents from Santa, we would dress in our Christmas best, pick one new toy to each bring with us, and then travel to see Grandpa & Grandma and the rest of my mom's family which was considerably bigger than my dad's side. And louder too. Each side of my extended family were polar opposites of one another. And that's not a bad thing - They were just definitely different.
This year, I'd give anything to step back into that again.
I know that I can't, and given family circumstances, it would probably just be really weird if it did happen. But I miss my family this year, even more than I usually do.
It could be a number of reasons - it could be that my step-sister just lost her mother that makes me miss my own. It could be that a friend of mine just lost her father, making me realize that sometimes I may just have to suck it up and be the adult in this estranged relationship. It could be that my extended family members are stretched out in multiple states that makes me miss the days of living closer together and actually expecting to spend the holiday together.
Oh I suppose there's something to be said for being able to have a lazy day at home with just the spouse and the kids and having no responsibilities outside of our own little bubble….except that my Christmas was never about staying in a bubble. It was about family and friends. Friends that may as well be family. (Sometimes friends that can be just as close as or closer than family.) Celebrating Christmas was never about shutting ourselves away for the sake of having a relaxing day at home.
The winter sun is beginning to set on this Christmas day that has gone by all too fast, and the days of multiple family Christmas celebrations will merely have to remain locked away in my memories. I've talked to mom twice today - I may have to make it three. Dad is also on the call list, and grandpa & grandma too. Then I'll probably throw on my new Christmas pj's, and settle in with Mr. D. and the monkey children for something that is NOT video game related (sorry monkey boys!!)
Despicable Me 2, anyone?
I have a table full of snacks, munchies and all sorts of Christmas deliciousness - feel free to pop over this evening. In the meantime - much love to your family this year, from our home to yours!