Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Flexing With the Times

It's a well-documented fact that The Gang has lots and lots of traditions. I've told you before about our annual treks to the lake, always around my birthday. I've mentioned our baking parties with my family for holiday treats. I've shared our favorite songs and movies and recipes surrounding the many celebrations we do here with friends and family.

I've also mentioned that Shaggy would be home for Thanksgiving but that making it home for Christmas this year is just not going to happen. When we planned our family festivities with both sides of The Gang's gang, The Boss and I intentionally built into the weekend some time for just the 7 of us to be together. We had several conversations about what that time needed to look like but no final conclusion was reached.  On Friday, we were pushing to make a decision as we waited for Shaggy to return from his morning out with his cousins and for Dr. D to limp home from track practice.

And Baby BlueEyes, listening and taking it all in, piped up with the best input we'd had to the conversation all fall long. It definitely struck just the right note with us all, because as soon as we mentioned it to Shaggy, 3 of the 5 of us who were standing there just teared up and dripped together. I'm pretty sure this tradition is the one thing my kids love THE.MOST. about our holiday festivities and it was so fitting that we used our one family day together to do it.

The thing about doing it this early this year, is that we had to get a little creative and a little flexible in the doing. After all, the full blown tradition usually involves a Saturday morning trip to a tree farm to cut a big fat blue spruce. And a day of letting it settle before we spend all of Sunday whole night decorating the tree and the whole downstairs of the house. It's an all-day event for The Gang. With lots of home-made cookies and hot cocoa and Christmas music all sprinkled liberally in there for good measure. But flexing things around a little bit was absolutely the right way to make sure Shaggy was involved somehow in our Christmas preparations.

So while Shaggy visited for a couple hours with a friend, The Boss went up and dragged down our somewhat "Charlie Brown-ish" artificial tree and our boxes of ornaments. He rigged a set of lights up and sorted through the ornaments to pull out all the hand-carved ones from Grandpa and the hand-made ones from all five kids over the years of pre-school, Sunday school, and art class projects.

Once Shaggy returned, we placed our order for Chinese food to be delivered and set about decorating the tree together. It's been a long time since we did two trees, so we kept the little tree fairly simple and "kid" focused. Then we sat and ate by the light of the tree and watched "Arthur Christmas" together. It was pretty much a perfect way to do our one night alone together. The movie struck a great balance between silly enough and just meaningful enough to keep us all connecting and listening to them all laughing together was music to this momma's ears.

There's a lot of change ahead this year for The Gang, and we have so far weathered all the big changes of 2012 pretty well together. I'm experienced enough at this "life" thing to know that the pace of change won't quit any time soon. But for this one night, with a little flexibility and creativity, we got to do one of our most treasured traditions {almost the same} as all the previous years. And for now, that's enough for me.

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