Thursday, December 25, 2008
Merry Christmas: in retrospect...
I just wanted to wish everyone a merry christmas.
Christmas with children is a whole other experience. As you can read here, I found that out for the first time last year in a fog of over exhaustion and dissapointment. Life with Joseph did not become much easier after that for nearly half a year more. Now, while we still have challenges, I feel like I am slowly returning to be a human being, which makes it much easier to be a mom. THe fact that Joseph is a wonderful, happy boy though, reassures me that I was a mom to him also when it was not easy.
This christmas so far has had it's own challenges. I will not even bring up the disaster of a journey that we had to Belgium or the annoying (though praise God not serious) ilnesses that we seem to go through each time we come here.
But there are things that are simply different when celebrating Christmas with a child. Traditions must change.. expectations be altered and the whole experience is a lot less cerebral and serene.
There are so many changes. We ended up not having a christmas tree inside at all this year. It was too much of a hassle to put one up in our own home when we were going to Belgium anyway on the 17th, and come back only after new year. And here at my mothers house, she -wisely- decided it would be much safer and simpler to put the tree outside. That also means... no ornaments in it as the ones we have are not suited for outside. That means no traditional decorating of the tree on the tones of Toon Hermans' Christmas skit and remarks about the little birdy that has graced the tree as long as I remember or 'my angels' the plastic, silver coloured angels of which one has a wing missing.
I did manage to put up a nativity scene in our house in the US, high up on the mantle since it is a beautiful, woodcarved scene that isn't intended for little childs hands. To compensate that, we bought a nice plastic nativity as well to put in the reach of little hands. Which lead to such wonderful exclamations as "Joseph, on't eat the baby Jesus!" But also to such tender scenes as Joseph giving little baby Jesus a kiss.
Unable to resist, we bought a second nativity for Joseph when we discovered the above duck nativity. With his duck obsession, it was a must. Fond memories include Joseph removing one of the three kings and adding a fireman duckie. New traditions are made. I think every nativity from now on will have to have fireman duckie somehwere nearby.
A bit more poignant is that we did not go to midnight mass for the first time in say... twenty five years. But with a todler finally on a semi decent sleep schedule waking him up at ten before midnight is just not an option. Instead we went to the noon mass today. A better choice. Despite it's lack of bells and whistles we were able to celebrate the birth of Our Lord with a happy toddler who even consented to remain in his stroller the entire time. When I went up for communion, my prayer was the same as last year: Lord, help me become a good wife, mother and above all a good Christian. I miss midnight mass, but as I have come to accept, this is a seaon in life where some things have to give way for other things. If I wish to celebrate a Child born unto us, I should not be grumbling and grudging about the things I need to change in my own beloved routines and traditions because of my sweet son.
Now more than ever, we are a new family, with new traditions in the making. Maybe I did not have a christmas tree with an angel that has a broken wing. But I had a duckie nativity, with one of the three wiseman replaced by a fireman. Life is good, Christ is born!