Thursday, December 31, 2009

The First Christmas

In many ways, every Christmas is the first Christmas.  Every Christmas some aspect of your life is true for the first time. But, I think for the most part, we cling to the past not wanting to acknowledge that each Christmas is just a little bit different than the last.  This year was the first in some ways I'd really rather not think about.

This year was the first Christmas for:

  • Not having Pops with us.  My father-in-law is not dead. But, he's been stricken with Alzheimer's and this is his first Christmas where he didn't even realize it was Christmas and was not with the family.

  • Coincidentally, this was the first Christmas where Ty's whole family did not get together at one time.  The celebration was supposed to be at our house this year.  But, due to weather and schedules, not more than one of her brothers or sister was here at a time.  Shell came the Friday before Christmas.  Derrick came the Sunday before Christmas bringing Grandmother.  Tim came the Sunday after Christmas.  We did not see Kelly or Eric at all this year.

  • Having one of the grandparents with us on Christmas day.  Ten years ago, when Ty was pregnant with Shayna was our first Christmas in our own home.  Since that time neither Ty nor I had seen our parents on Christmas day.  This year, Grandmother joined us.  It was a bittersweet time as we loved having her with us and the girls were thrilled to have their grandmother with them on Christmas day- first time ever for Shayna and for Kayla first time in memory.  But, it was a reminder that Pops is no longer with us and the first time Grandmother wasn't in her own home for Christmas ever.  It was also the first Christmas since she got married that she didn't make the Christmas dinner for.

  • Having no children in the house who believe in Santa.   Last year, Shayna was pretty sure there was no Santa.  But, this year she wasn't afraid to say it out loud.  Most of their presents were wrapped this year and there was nothing to assemble, no cookies and milk to put out.  We actually went to bed before midnight.

  • Having a teenager in the house.  Kayla turned 13 in November. She still asked for a couple of toys (she'd be mortified if her little teeny-bopper buddies found out).  But, the days of girlish joy about Christmas are behind us with Kayla.

  • No one said "This is the best Christmas ever!"  When Kayla was younger, she would announce on every birthday and every Christmas "This is the best birthday/Christmas ever!".  When Shayna was old enough, she joined the tradition.  Instead, this year Shayna announced "This is the best Christmas yet!"  When I asked her why she changed the phrase, she said that she hadn't yet experienced all the Christmases to come so, it made more sense to just rate the ones that had already passed.
None of these firsts are things I really want to look forward to.  There's a little sadness that comes with each Christmas as I realize I only have so many left and less to look forward to than I have to look back on.  Kayla and Shayna's joy on Christmas morning as they discovered what Santa had brought brought back the joy I used to experience as a child.  That's gone now.  Maybe one day I'll experience it with grandchildren in my children's home.  But, it won't be the same. But, I enjoyed my Christmas with the girls, Ty and Grandmother.  It was different than Christmases past but still very good.


Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I had an emotionally mixed Christmas this year. At the very last minute Robyn's family guilted her into flying to see them, so we bought a ticket on Christmas Eve and off she went. I pick her up tonight.

I love Christmas, I love the music, I love the time with my family, and I've tried to be in the spirit, but having our plans so abruptly and rudely changed has made it very difficult.

This was to be our first Christmas in the house I bought for us. I still had a great Christmas and so did she, but it would have been much better if we had planned it this way.

Just wanted to let you know you're not alone in having a few mixed feelings about Christmas.

This is a good, thoughtful post, Brian. Thank you for sharing.

Happy New Year!

Brian said...

Hey Mike,

I'm sorry you didn't get the chance to be with Robyn on Christmas. Family dynamics are always "interesting".

I hope you got to spend New Year's Eve together.


Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Thanks, Brian. We did, and all is right with the world again. :-)