Sunday, December 24, 2006

Family: Christmas Traditions

As the tradition goes, Christmas morning, we wake up and make sure everyone is awake(including the brother who lives across the street) and gather in our living room, we read the Christmas Story out of Luke 2 (which can be torture for small children, sadly), and open presents. That last bit, opening presents, can be good, bad, hectic and wonderful all at the same time, but we all know it can be our favorite part( yes, yes, beside eating, but that comes later). It is my favorite part, not because I get things, but because we are all together and being a family. Sure, some of us are a little grumpy, tired and really want to go back to bed, but we all still are enjoying ourselves. We get comfy, exchange gifts, throw wrapping paper at each other, laugh- a lot and are all in the "spirit if Christmas". Love between the family is really shown on this day, and that is what makes it one of the best holidays of the year.

2 yrs ago we celebrated partially at home, and partly at Alexian Brothers Hospital because my mom was sick with rapidly spreading cancer. We brought the same dinner we were eating at home to the hospital for her to enjoy too. The best part of that day was seeing her smile when we brought it in on Nortaki blue flowered china, her Christmas present. She enjoyed her Christmas dinner with her whole family. We packed into her hospital room in in shifts. The kids living at home, then my oldest sister's family, and finally my oldest brother's family. We all saw her and then rejoined in our house, her house. We enjoyed each other so much that Christmas, even though we were away from her, we still had Christmas just the way we would have if she was there.

Last year we spent our first Christmas without her. We tried to keep it together, keep each tradition just as she would. But still, it wasn't the same. She was the one who always made it the best holiday ever. She MADE Christmas, and every holiday, like no one else could. I see more and more that it is definitely true, the saying: " You don't know what you have until it's gone", so so true. We all took her for granted, what she did, who she was. We never realized how much she did, and how she did it. But what I think was our saving grace is that we each learned from her and loved her more than most people who take others for granted. It's not possible to ever recreate the feeling she gave us on Christmas or everyday for that matter, but I have learned that every thing she had taught me each day and each time I helped in the kitchen and each time she showed me something, was all preparation for when we wouldn't be together anymore. And I'm thankful for that. She was a wonderful, "Supermom", and I'm glad that she taught me most of what she knew. It helps me to be able to keep her memory alive, in my mind and in the minds of my brothers and sisters.

Now this wasn't a blog to damper spirits on Christmas Eve, only to tell you to be sure to enjoy every minute with your love ones, especially your mom.
It's one of the hardest things for me to do now, spend Christmas without my mom. With time it is getting better, but still it will never be the same. I miss her, we all miss her, so much, but we are ok, we have come a long way in 2 yrs, we have come to realize that we have each other and we can love each other and it's ok.

We have changed the tradition this year. We will be sharing our day with my dad's new wife, Esther. We are attending a service at 10pm and tomorrow morning we will just say a prayer. Graciously sparing the children from having to sit through all of Luke chapter 2 and will and then open presents. Also, instead of me trying to handle all the decorating and cooking myself(the same way mom did), Jeremy(and Beata), Jennifer(and Scott), and Hope are cooking and Esther will also be doing something small. The point is that we are all helping each other, working as a team, the way we should. Oh, how we've grown :)
One tradition I don't ever intend on giving up, wrapping presents until all hours on Christmas Eve. I think It's my favorite tradition ever. I used to do it with my mom, but Hope has been the one to take her place. I enjoyed it very much with my mom and still do with my sister.

Well, enough of my going on and on, time to wrap something ;)

More tomorrow~

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