Traditions and when they don’t go

Since I was very young, my dad has taken all of the kids in our family, including cousins and friends, out for a day of shenanigans every December. While he and one of his besties wrangle a dozen children or so, a bunch of adults decorate my mom’s house for Christmas. When the kids come home, the magic is fully intact! We have a great dinner together and call it a day: Decorating day to be precise.

For the first time since I can remember, we aren’t participating. The kids are disappointed of course, but so are Dave and I! This is such a big part of our Christmas season. Our whole family just got over a stomach flu, and unfortunately other family members are coming down with a different one. With our whole support network and me traveling next week, it seems too risky to intentionally expose all of us to something that could take the house down on poor Dave and Katherine’s watch.

We decorated our own house yesterday, which was a lot of fun! All the adults took a quiet minute under the tree at the end of the night, where we told stories and goofed off for a couple of hours of relaxation. Today will be all about how to make it up to the kids, and at some point we will have to figure out how to make it up to my mom. She loves Christmas more than anyone I know, and I feel like this must be breaking her heart even though she’s handling it with grace. 

This won’t change the tradition or anything about it, but choosing to bow out has been like a bucket of cold water to my face. We finally feel like we are finding our rhythm as a family within the context of my new job, so lately any stepping out from beloved planned activities hurts a little bit more. I thought we were past that phase!  it reminds me of the year I had stomach flu on Christmas morning, or the year I got sick at my own birthday party. As easy as it is to understand I don’t intellectual level, my little kids heart protests on behalf of all of my kids. We will chalk it up with a side of regret, and move forward into an awesome holiday season nonetheless. But here’s hoping the rest of December has some lovely surprises in store in addition to reality.