For the first time in–well, ever–the end of Christmas hasn’t put me in a sentimental all-the-fun-is-over funk.
Last year, somewhere between the last present opened and the first piece of pie cut for Christmas dinner, Brett found me in the bathroom, curled over the tub while I washed Dash’s hair, a tearful mess. It was like all those childhood Christmases where I cried when it was over and all the magic years of raising babies and all my love for the holidays had crescendoed to that very moment in the bathroom–a recognition of how much I have loved it all and how much it is changing, sweet and painful at the same time.
“It’s all changing, they’re getting older, these Christmases…I love them so much.” Sob, sob, blah, blah, blah. If I recall, I pulled it together for pie.
This year, I didn’t cry or mourn the end or say one word about how next year would look different. I sat back and enjoyed our little Christmas–just as it is–a maturity graduation I attribute, of course, to turning 40 tomorrow because I’m attributing every meaningless thing to turning 40. Drop a spoon in the kitchen: “Ha ha, look. I’m dropping things. Must be turning 40, eh?” Try a new lipstick color: “Gotta change things up, you know. Turning 40.” Puts clothes away instead of leaving them on the floor: “I’m a new woman! I pick things up! Yay, 40!” I realize this is annoying, but I can’t stop.
That said, yes, I do love so much about Christmas and I’m grateful for the memories we’ve made this month and the festive celebrations and all the pretty things that have added wonder to the past few weeks. But I can tuck them away without feelings of scarcity or sadness. Because 40, of course.
Some favorite moments from the past week…
Baking Santa’s cookies.
A hug he grabbed because he loved the little buns she put in her hair so much, he couldn’t help himself.
A check off our holiday bucket list with a trip to a nearby neighborhood that puts on the best light show.
Every weekend in December, it’s bumper-to-bumper slow traffic in this neighborhood–trolleys and buses come to tour it, residents host parties in their driveways, bands play Christmas carols and just about every family in Naples spends an evening touring the streets.
Another holiday bucket list finished (I think we had two unchecked items at the end), rolled up and tucked in the keepsake bin…with no feelings of scarcity or sadness BECAUSE 40. We’re doing this, folks. We’re doing this.
I was so proud to announce that I had all my wrapping done early this year and would not be staying up until 1:30 a.m. Christmas Eve to prepare.
But we all know how that ends. I stayed up until 1:30 a.m. Christmas Eve to prepare.
The Eve is my favorite. Christmas movies by the fire…
Writing our final words to Santa.
(Dash: “I’m not going to tell Santa I love him because he’s not in my family, and I don’t love him.” Touche, Dash.)
Annual tradition: setting up the reindeer runway in our driveway.
Cookies for Santa.
And putting all three kids to sleep in the same bed. It takes forever for them to settle down, but when they do, I take this photo every year.
And yes, I fully expect them to keep doing this in their 40’s (Because 40). I know this can happen because the mother in the book I Love You, Forever crept into her son’s room to cradle him grown man style, and if she can do that, then my grown kids can surely leave their spouses and children at home to come curl up in bed at my house to fall asleep and get their photo taken, not creepy at all. (We will absolutely reenact this scene to recreate a photo in 20 years, and it will hang in my old lady office someday.)
The final scene, 1:30 a.m. before I crashed, excited and happy.
And all the Christmas morning joy. Running to find evidence of Santa, Blitzen’s spit-out carrots (he doesn’t like them), snowy reindeer tracks (it’s magic North Pole snow that never melts), stockings and presents and Christmas breakfast, pajamas that don’t get changed until the afternoon, endless coffee and movies and family piled up on the couch. Grateful for these memories and the people in them.
And Nella’s little doll with Down syndrome. I’ll tell you more about it later this week. Let’s just say I changed my mind about dolls with Down syndrome because I used to feel very strongly against them, and this little baby has brought so much joy.
We’re still in cozy lazy day mode over here. Whatever you celebrate and wherever you are, I hope you all made some special memories this week and were surrounded by love.