Yesterday was Christmas. I decided 3 years ago that the boys and I would stop traveling for Christmas. When B was alive we tried super hard to appease both sides of the family. We’d pack everything up and drive to Austin for Christmas eve, spend the night and get up early and head back to Dallas to spend Christmas day with his family and daughter. By the time we made it home that evening we’d both be so exhausted that it didn’t feel like we got to really enjoy the holiday. The last Christmas we did it we decided enough was enough and we weren’t subjecting ourselves to it anymore. We’d either alternate the holidays between families or we’d just stay home and start our own traditions.
The first year after he died Christmas was so rough I barely remember it. There was no Christmas tree, I bought all of the gifts online and had them shipped to Austin and we headed there for the holiday. I grinned and bared it and did what I could to make sure BJ had a good holiday and that was that. The next year I decided that we’d create our own traditions. I think that was the year I began to wrap my brain around the fact that I couldn’t “not do” just because things weren’t how I’d imagined them being… That year my brother, cousin and myself called our parents and invited them to come visit us for the holiday. There was only a little bit of grumble… but they came. We called it the give back Christmas where we did all of the cooking and organizing and treated our parents to a holiday since they’d catered to us for so many years. The next year was the year things got a little bit more rough. I told my parents I was staying in Dallas but there wasn’t a fancy reason attached. I was just staying… That year my brother and cousin went to Austin so it was my first Christmas with just myself and the boys. It was hard to maintain cheerfulness but I knew each year it would get easier. This year was my third Christmas not traveling. My brother and cousins stayed in Dallas so it wasn’t as lonely, but my parents couldn’t make it in because my dad came down with the flu.
I’ve had people ask me why we don’t just go to Austin. My dad is a pastor so it’s not easy for him to get away on the weekends to come to town. And I’m not sure anyone can understand why I haven’t bent on this… it isn’t out of stubbornness. More so, my desire to create a sense of tradition/normalcy. I want my boys to look back at Christmas and remember waking up super early (in their beds), coming downstairs and seeing presents under their tree. I want them to play with their new toys at their house… and go play outside in their yard. These are things I remember from my childhood.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of memories that we’ll have alike. My parent’s are still married. But, I remember my dad teaching me how to ride a bike, my dad coaching my sports teams and taking me to the track to workout, showing me how to fix a tire and a million other things dads traditionally do…. but these are memories my kids wont have. Ours is not the traditional household. So, the few traditions I can create that mimic some of the great ones that I had growing up I hold onto dearly and I can’t compromise.
So here’s to another successful Christmas, full of love, laughter and TRADITION.