Since then my world has expanded to include friends from around the world, some of whom I will never meet, others who have become "real life" friends. Wherever you fit in that scheme of things, I am grateful for your presence, your comments, your ideas, your compassion and for all the things I learn from visiting you. Thank you.
As you will be reading this, I will be celebrating Christmas. This year we are doing our family Christmas early with Kevin, Molly and Greg at Kevin and Molly's home. It's their first Christmas in their new house and we're excited because we will get a whole weekend of fun instead of the usually 24-hours as they go from one family to another and another still.
Initially it was hard for me to think of doing things differently this year. Since the kids were small we negotiated two homes easily enough (well, not always easily) and we built our own holiday traditions. Rick's grandfather's dinner on Christmas Eve (which was usually not on December 24), followed by cookie decorating.
Our morning would include our breakfast casserole and mimosa, lots of time opening presents and "Reindeer games"-- a little dice tossing with dollar store prizes for all. Then it would be goodbye to the kids and Rick and I would do Christmas all over again with the two of us, or maybe with friends.
I don't know if we'll be doing cookies or reindeer games this year. Maybe. Maybe not. But whatever we do, I know it will be fun and filled with love.
Part of life is growing and changing -- and never stopping that. It means that traditions will change.
When I was little, Christmas Eve was spent at my aunt's where we all dressed up and also celebrated cousin Nancy's birthday on that day. Christmas morning was with mom and dad, and dinner at my grandparents -- which was not a lot of fun. There was a 30 year age difference between me and the next youngest person at dinner! I don't remember (obviously) when this picture was taken (I'm the little billiard ball on my Grandmother's lap -- who by the way was only 65 or 66 when this was taken!). But this is what my Christmas Day dinners looked like for probably a good 18 years! A definite lack of peer group!
In college, the Cleveland cousins came north and we'd celebrate together with our package wrapping contest, carols at the piano, champagne at midnight. And then the moms died. We kept it up till they had families and Christmas travel just didn't play into the plans as it did before. So, for awhile, we celebrated Christmas in February, halfway between our homes.
Christmas with dad meant church on Christmas Eve and a quiet Christmas day. Eventually, I took over the cooking and we invited friends to celebrate with us in my tiny apartment. Then that changed, too.
I remember Christmas Eves with my friend Judy and her family and Christmas dinners with those of us who were on our own. And then I met Rick.
|I just noticed Stimpy is wearing the same reindeer ears I just put on Lizzie! Those have been around a long, long time!|
All those changes happened because something better happened, letting new experiences and wonderful feelings evolve.
I was talking with a friend about this the other day. She is one of several who are experiencing similar shifts. In her case, it was the death of a parent followed by the sale of the family home, the gathering place of so many traditional years. It's not just an emotional shift but a physical one.
And, I suspect as we continue to age, this will happen more often. Families will say farewell to a senior generation and the next group will step up to bat. Filling their places will be our children and then grandchildren. The circle of life.
So, this year, we are making merry our holiday traditions will shift, too. We decorated Rick's tree over the weekend -- just the two of us, with ornaments that tugged at our memories and heartstrings.
We'll celebrate with the kids a little early, with friends on Christmas day, and -- as you might expect from me -- anywhere along the way we can can. Because really, isn't life too short not to celebrate every single minute? We never know what's going to happen tomorrow or the next day. Make this one count.
But one thing never changes. Lizzie will wear a hat. Maybe only for 30 seconds and with assistance, but she will wear a hat.
And once again, thank you for being with me on this ride called "The Marmelade Gypsy." Some of you have been here since I started, others have joined in along the way. I am grateful for you all.