Part of being in the middle of grown children, young grandchildren, and aging parents is the challenge of accommodating new and old Christmas traditions. Add to that the complexities of blended families and you have a good case for a month long vacation to Maui, Cuba, Mexico...just about anywhere but here.
The simplicity of family living in one city, meeting at church Christmas Eve, followed with the gathering at Omie's has long since passed. The years of hosting Christmas dinners with young children, cousins, uncles, aunts, neighbours, and friends has also faded into yesterdays.
This year has left me particularly unprepared for the grand festivities. We started shopping/gathering gifts as far back as September with the best intentions of sorting, wrapping, mailing, delivering all presents well before the 24th. So much for good intentions. Here we are on December 23rd with not one present wrapped, nothing delivered, no chance of gifts arriving up in Fort Mac for the Family Gray in time for the big day.
Rather than succumbing to guilt or worse yet, giving into the potential of bah humbugs, we've set a new pace. It's called one day at a time. There is no old way of doing things. Releasing the have-tos, embracing the unexpected, forging different pathways of celebrations has not been easy; however it is born out of need. Need for joy, peace, love, and good mental health.
These 2012 festivities began with our first Christmas dinner at Irmgard's, my dearest mother. She can still cook up a tasty turkey; no one can match her stuffing. My sister in law, whom I love dearly, cooked up all the fixings -D E L I C I O U S! We were a simple group of seven gathered around mom's table. To blend the new with old, mom insisted we end the evening with a game of Elfer Rause (Eleven Out). To mom's credit she had kept the old well worn cards for our game. The same cards that we used when I was young. So many memories in those cards; yet still room for more. In between some soft/some loud renditions of 'Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty' we laughed and played. In typical Irmgard fashion there were prizes for the winners. I was a winner! I went home with my prize. Not simply the prize in my hand, but the bigger prize in in my heart; memories of love and joy covered with a lovely coating of peace. What a wonderful beginning to this season of Celebration.