Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wishing to Establish Holiday Traditions...

This Christmas is a turning point for my family in more ways than one.

  • Nathan and I are celebrating our first married Christmas. 
  • My sister and her family have moved back to St. Louis after living in California for a few years.
  • My grandmother on my mother's side (my nana) is in a rehabilitation facility, due to a fall and a seizure
  • My grandmother on my dad's side has moved to a retirement home due to a stroke. 
  • And...OMG our Christmas routine is changing!
There was a slight tone of panic in my son's voice this morning as we discussed our plans for Christmas. This day has remained the exact same ever since he was born. Jasen is a creature of habit more than most children, and he tends to panic a little when things change.

Every year our Christmas routine goes as follows:
  • Jasen and I open presents from Santa at home
  • We head to grandma and grandpa's for the morning and more present time
  • We go to my aunt's house for a brunch and to spend time with my dad's side of the family
  • Christmas nap!
  • We go to my other aunt's house for dinner and to spend time with my mom's side of the family
This has been the "Christmas Routine" for as long as I can remember. 

This holiday season has been filled with trips to the emergency room for my nana accompanied with shifts by each family member at the rehabilitation center. It has been anything but "normal" this year. With that being said, I am very grateful that my nana is alive and doing better each day. 

The plans for Christmas day have been up in the air for weeks. The plan is to spend most of our day at the nursing facility with our nana. We won't be seeing anyone from my dad's side of the family this holiday season, with the exception of our trip to visit my grandma today. No holiday brunch. No big Christmas dinner. 

The sudden shake in our traditions has made me want to establish my own traditions for my own growing family. We have always relied on the plans of others and have never made our own. Now that I am married, I feel like we have solidified our own family unit. 

I read somewhere that married couples should move a few hours away from family during the first few years of marriage. This gives time to establish your own relationship and family, without the intervention of needs from other family members. Ever since I read this, it has stuck with me. I have never lived anywhere else besides St. Louis and I have always been extremely reliant on my family. We don't have the financial means to move anytime soon, but it is a thought that is always in my mind. 

Both of my sisters have moved away and experienced new places, while I have remained here, the constant, due to my life choices. I am happy for them, but it makes me wonder what I have been missing out on in the world. As a single mom, I always have tried to do the "right" things. Go to college, work full time, provide for my son...moving and traveling just hasn't seemed to work into that plan.

I hope today to sit down with my husband and son and discuss how we can establish our own holiday traditions. It may be simple, like going to the movies together or taking a short trip. Lately, I have been feeling like I have been neglecting my own needs and the needs of my own family to be there for everyone else. 

As my friend Sara told me, "It's like what they tell you on the air plane: secure your own oxygen mask before assisting others". 

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