Thoughts from Tana ...<br>
The roaster in which the thanksgiving turkey baked has been dried and put away. It is time to bring in the tree! This year, though, it wasn’t my roaster that was used. The tree will be placed in the living room and decorated with twinkling lights that passersby will see from the living room window. Its brightness will mirror the glow in my heart that is engaged in its annual conspiracy of love. This year, though, my tree will be dark on Christmas Eve and no gifts will be beneath its branches.
As our lives unfold, time announces change. This year my husband and I will begin rotating spending Thanksgiving and Christmas at the homes of our children. I have compared this new direction in our lives to high school graduation, a predicted emergence from one stage to another. We have reached a destination that blends a mixture of excitement and reluctance.
Christmastime has been, for as long as I can remember, a time of the year when I blossomed. It nourished a sense of purpose as I devoted time and energy to maximize the pleasures of the holidays for my family who would be seated in my home on Christmas morning. With heightened spirit, I devotedly attached my efforts to decorating the house, baking goodies and wrapping gifts with childlike fantasies of magical wishes.
Noticing that I was eyeing the holiday decorations in a store, my husband said to me, “Honey, let’s keep decorating the house simple this year since we won’t be home.” In that moment I felt a sense of regret. I began remembering past Christmases when the family gathered at our home and realized that some of the most wonderful days of my life have centered on Christmas. “Oh, how I am going to miss it,” I sighed.
Then it dawned on me that I am being very selfish. The excitement in my daughter’s voice when we told her we would be spending Christmas at her home this year brought the incomparable kind of parental warmth relished when a parent pleases a child. So much like her mother she has become. I knew that her devotion to preparations for the holidays and her anticipation will in many ways mimic the ways of her mother.
Remembering Christmases past, I recalled a particular Christmas Eve when my mother said, “Your home is beautiful and I love being here.” Oh, how I treasured that moment. I am reminded that no matter how old we are, parental approval is something we forever desire. I also remembered how excited our three children were when their grandparents arrived. I recalled the Christmas David’s parents surprised us and showed up at the door on Christmas Eve. I was in the height of my glory as my husband and I slept on the pullout sofa and I simply glowed with pride that they had chosen to spend Christmas at our house.
Yes, I am convinced that the time has come to pass on to my children and grandchildren those joys that blessed our home over the years. My spirits are rising with the anticipation of being in their homes, to see my grandchildren’s eyes light with delight at St. Nick’s visit is becoming a vision of bliss. I relish the picture of watching my sons carve a turkey as we gather and bow our heads on Thanksgiving Day in their homes. I want each of my daughters-in-law to feel the same contentment I once felt.
I find that I am looking at the holidays with a new perspective. “Home for the holidays” is a gift I wish to pass to my children. Keeping Christmas simple is a present I give to my husband. Welcoming the season, I embrace it with gladness and gratefulness for the family God has blessed us with. I embrace the opportunity to nourish the purpose of their existence.
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