This year was hectic. Illness prevailed. Gifts purchased with little thought. The “real looking” tree remained in its box. And, to confess to all, there’s no desire to celebrate holidays. Two out of four weekends in the month of each year my family of husband, daughter and two sons, one grandson, a daughter-in-law, and a mother-in-law have eaten together or gathered in one room to visit. Now it’s time to celebrate “together” again. Wasn’t it last week we ate pasta together?
Can’t I have Christmas my way? With Son 2 here this year, the evening of the 24th begins the magic: sitting in front of fire drinking hot apple cider, nibbling cheese on fancy crackers, and snuggling with pets Ace, Deuce, and Scratch. Laughing at the funny events of Christmases past. Reviewing old snapshots, laughing at the hair styles. As the night wanes we’re relaxed. Then to bed to arising Christmas morning at our own time, teasing with the few gifts remaining under the tree, finishing off the cider, selecting a rum muffin, a boiled egg and returning to the fireplace. The afternoon is spent having friends and family share a glass or cup and catch up on each of our lives.
Son 1 and his family live nearby and have their customs. We shared their customs for several years. Who can say which side of the family has better celebrations? They wish to include us gathering on Christmas Eve for a great meal, watching the grandson open his gifts early the next morning, having a light breakfast, leaving around noon to return to a family house a few hours later for a festive meal is eye-appealing and too much to digest.
How often we’ve reminded Son 1 with his family he has his customs, we have ours. He wants both but has to make a choice. How many other sons and daughters have wrestled with where to go on Christmas? I don’t want to be a part of that decision.
Blame this on age. Younger folks do not understand how aging begins to rob us of the ordinary. We must refocus on new conditions that we can handle.
Age has lessened the excitement of riding around the neighborhood looking at the holiday lighted decorations. Age has tired me of p & b sandwiches. Age has frozen my need to create a meal. Age has eliminated the act of rising before six a.m. Worst of all, age has interfered with my typing. My fingers like to wander to other keys than the ones I prefer to tap.
I didn’t know age would insist I nap more frequently, have an empty pantry of hostess delectibles, take away my social life, suck energy from my body, or allow me to ignore the messy living room that could never be on the cover of Architectual Digest. Traditions and obligations have become stressful with age. How difficult it is to maintain an outward appearance of enjoyment with a pain pulling here and there.
After 30 years of meeting work schedules, husband R and I want to live each day the way we choose: sleep late, eat when and what we enjoy, and wear our robes all day, if we so desire.