When Mike and I began dating it became even more complicated. We wanted to spend Christmas together but he also had divorced parents, so this meant having four places we needed and were expected to be. I always felt very torn, stressed out and sad. I remember one Christmas Mike and I got in the car and looked at each other because we totally forgot where we were supposed to go next. It took the joy out of the holiday season and replaced it with guilt, tension, and exhaustion.
Then EJ came home. We actually spent Christmas Eve 2009 in Ethiopia and then flew back to the US on Christmas Day. Although it was twenty-four hours of confusion, air travel, poop and pure fear of flying, it was the most relaxed and best Christmas I had in ten years! I had always heard that kids bring the joy back into the holidays and right away he did. This year, Christmas is exciting for us. EJ is starting to “get it”. He asks about Santa, points and talks to “Elf”, his Elf on the Shelf, asks when it will snow and decorated the whole tree. I can actually feel my hatred of the holidays melting away.
I still get nervous about how we will fit everyone in, who will go where and at what time, and if we will get some quality family time but I am trying now to focus more on EJ and making sure his holiday memories are always positive. Mike and I are establishing our own traditions, like cutting down the tree (a big tradition for a city girl!) and making our decisions based on what is best for our small family and not what everyone else wants. This is not easy but has helped us both relax a little this season and start to actually enjoy it! Scrooge is not completely gone as I have heard myself grumble already but I am rediscovering the meaning of Christmas through the eyes of my very excited 2 year old, who was our best Christmas gift ever.