10 December 2009

a season for change.

***Warning:  this is going to be a ramble.  I have not organized my thoughts on this one AT ALL.  These kinds of posts always seem to get me into trouble, but it's my blog, so deal.

I come from a VERY large extended family on both sides.  My mom's side is significantly larger than my dad's, but both are pretty big.  My dad comes from a family of 5 (his middle brother, my uncle, is deceased), and my mom comes from a family of 8.  What makes both families unique, is that, aside from the occasional college student, we all live in the area.  Isn't that weird/cool/sad/good all at the same time?

Needless to say, it has caused mass chaos at holiday time throughout the years.  Gotta go here, gotta be there kind of stuff.  Fast forward to 2009.  It's hard.  Really hard. 

Here's the deal...
I really enjoy being with my family.  ALL of them.  But things in my own world are changing.  I'm not the 18-year-old girl dragging her boyfriend (yes, he became my husband) around to only 2 events.  I'm a wife & mother to 4 children.  Christmas is about a lot of things, but namely, it's about sharing the magic of the birth of the King with children, and everything else that goes along with that.  And, now that I have my own kids, that one sentence has a whole new meaning for me. 

Let me say again, I love my extended family.  We all get along, and laugh, and joke, and play games, and, generally, enjoy each other when we are all together.  But, when is enough, enough? 

That sounded harsh.  And, I really, really don't mean it to. 

What I'm trying to say, and failing at miserably, is that as time goes on, can things always remain the same.  Can we all cram into someone's house, shoulder to shoulder, with new girlfriends, husbands, babies, etc., and still get the same thing out of it that we did 15 years ago?

On my mom' side we have resorted to renting a hall, or splitting up into our smaller groups to do holidays, birthdays, and the like.  I feel like, at this point, we just get together for the sake of getting together. A HAVE to, not a WANT to.  And, I really do still want to see them, and spend time with them around the holidays, but it's getting to be so much.  Church, Chirstmas Eve festivities, then Christmas morning with just us, then Jake's side, then my side.  Ugh!

I want to claim one of the two days as our own.    No distractions.  Just us.  Any which way I look at it, it's the Christmas Eve gathering that needs to get axed.  It makes me sad, but at the same time, I'm not sure that I still get the same charge out of that party that I used to.  I still enjoy it, but it's not the same.

That's sounds awful.  And, sometimes change is hard to stomach, but it's necessary.  Unavoidable.

I hope I didn't make any of my familial readers sad or mad.  Sometimes, I think that I say out loud what many of you are thinking.  There are pros and cons to zipping it shut AND being more upfront.  Is there a right or a wrong?  I'm not sure.  Confronting it head on has always worked better for me.   

Does anyone else feel the same?  Please tell me I'm not alone...



  1. I am right there with you...we don't have the kind of pressure that you do but it's all the same really. We decided that when we got married...the holidays were about OUR family...whatever WE WANTED to do is what we would do...even if that meant staying home all day on Christmas or whatever. We make a point of seeing people all year long...so that when Christmas comes they can't say they never see us. It really is about what is best for YOUR family and what will make you and your husband the happiest and help YOUR family get the most of the season. Do what you feel like you should...and don't apologize for it...just offer to make plans in Jan or Feb or Mar when there is nothing else to do. :)

    And p.s. I think I remember seeing some cute bedside book holders in your boys rooms? where did you get them...or if they are taking up space now in your garage.... :)

  2. AMEN!!! big "ditto"!

  3. Oh Beth, Matt and I are right there with ya. We don't know why we keep doing this every year; our kids are younger (Carter 3 and twins 1) and I really don't know if that makes it better or worse, but I agree at some point enough is enough b/c the true meaning does seem to get lost in the hustle and bustle. I think through your decision you just gave your children the BEST gift they could ever receive. That is no knock against making memories with extended family, but it is easier for kids tend to take more away from events when there is less stress on both them and there parents. I can tell from reading what an amazing mom you are and how devoted you are so if I know that just from my bits of reading I know that your families know that in their heart of hearts. Take care and Merry Christmas to all of you! -Amanda & Matt Warren

  4. I completely understand you and I don't even fall in your family. :) This is why holidays are so exciting for me this year. It is just the three of us with no visitors. We can do whatever we want, whenever we want it, stay in pjs or not,... The only obligation will be calling people on the phone which won't take long and it will be nice to hear them. Do what is important to your family. As you still see everyone else before or after the holiday and they all have their own traditions too. Don't feel bad.

  5. shh... don't tell anyone, but I dream of moving away for this very reason. if I could live in my dream location (oregon coast) from Nov. 20th to Jan. 2nd every year I would be one very, very, very happy girl.
    Dining hall? hectic.


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