We are in the midst of the holiday season. Church functions, neighborhood cookie exchanges, school Christmas plays, and holiday work events — the to-do list for the holiday season just goes on and on and on. It’s no wonder that by the time Christmas Eve and Christmas Day actually roll around, all one wants to do is stay at home and spend a low-key Christmas just with family.
I get it. It makes perfect sense as to why lately I am seeing Facebook posts and Instagram stories about how “I will spend Christmas at home with my family” and how “We won’t be going to every single house this year.” I really do get it. Traveling to visit every loved one’s house over the holidays (especially with kids) can be exhausting and extremely stressful.
But, at the risk of getting a lot of unlikes and possibly unfollows, I am going to share my thoughts on why I will make time for every house I can during every holiday.
We have two families, but three places to go over the holidays: my husband’s family, my family and the farm (where my husband’s extended family celebrates). Our girls have even more stops to take: their mom’s and then possibly their mom’s extended family.
Our families are extremely generous as they work around our schedule best as possible, especially in order for the girls to also have time to spend with their mom and not miss out on our family traditions. So, a HUGE thank you goes to our amazing village! Yet, even with our amazing family, it can still be a lot, though I will never want to skip a house during the holidays. Whether it be Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Fourth of July, etc., I want to always try to visit every house.
Why? Because life is short.
I am really learning the truth to that statement every year I get older. Over the last few years, I have been shown just how fragile life is and how it can change in a blink of an eye. We can wish for tomorrow, but it isn’t promised, which has been a really hard pill to swallow. I want a world where every day of my life includes all members of my family, but this is just not reality.
The reality is that one day there will be someone missing. In 2014, I lost my maternal grandfather. While I am so grateful that I was there when he passed away, there are still times during my life in which I wish I would have faced my fear of flying and seen him more. I wish I would have taken one of the 20-minute phone sessions in which I just sit and surf the web, and turned it into a phone call with him. But, I didn’t, and that regret is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life.
So, I choose to turn that regret into a positive by remembering to not let that happen again. Whether you are expecting someone to pass away soon or not, you are never truly ready for that last phone call or last holiday, which is why I will be making time for every house during the holidays.
You never know when that holiday is going to be the last one with everyone present, and I don’t want to regret not being there. The holidays are really not about the gifts, a realization I have made mostly as an adult. Don’t get me wrong; I wanted the presents when I was younger, but now, I just want the time. I want the moments with my family and all the traditions we have started. Our annual “Christmas Day” movie at our local movie theater, our annual Thanksgiving Day breakfast at Cracker Barrel, our annual “White Elephant” game at the farm, etc. I want it all. I don’t want to miss it and I don’t want my kids to miss it!
Our memories are what we take with us. I might not remember every present I received when I was growing up, but you know what I do remember? I remember my dog Gracie, getting loose on Christmas Eve and my mom, dad, and me running around the neighborhood after her while my brother slept on the couch. I remember calling my grandparents when the ball dropped at midnight because we were in EST and they were in CST, so we would joke that we were living in different years. I remember the holiday in which my mom and Easton made the worst holiday cookies ever because the icing was WAY expired.