“On Sunday, you’ll be so happy you did it this way.” she predicted.
“Yeah. You’re probably right.”
I had just admitted to my husband and our nanny that I was feeling a bit sad about our Thanksgiving plans. A little mournful over missing family. A little too infatuated with last year and the house full of people and the big meal. A little let down already and the holiday hadn’t even arrived yet.
And Miss N predicted that before the weekend came to a close, I’d be happy with our holiday and our lack of plans and what we did.
And she was right.
On Thursday morning, I walked by one of the windows in our house that looks out and up the hill. I saw one side of the street lined with cars, someone or someones clearly hosting a meal. The other side of the street was empty. Neighbors and friends out and out of town with their family and friends.
And my heart ached at the celebrations that they were having and we were not.
And then I remembered that lots of people do not a celebration make.
Just a family of people will do. Just a family of people and the will to celebrate.
We watched the parade and cheered when Santa arrived at the end. We baked a cake. We decorated our tree and our house and we played holiday music all.day.long.
And when afternoon naptime arrived, I poured myself a glass of wine and pulled out the nice tablecloth and the real napkins and the napkin rings that M’s parents brought us from India years ago that we’ve never used. And the little placecards on which you can write the things you’re thankful for. And I wrapped the new ornaments that we bought them for the tree this year. Acorns for her because she loves to collect them and store them in her pocket. Blocks for him because, well, he’s a baby and blocks are our jam right now.
And when they woke, we set our pre-cooked meal to warm and finished decorating the tree. And I don’t even remember what we did after that but it was peaceful and lovely.
And then, on Saturday, it clicked.
On Saturday afternoon, something clicked. And the four of us found our groove together. Big sister sat amongst us doing her craft thing and the baby and I played happily, and in one place, with legos on the floor while M cooked dinner. And there was no fighting or bickering or whining or tantrum. And we ate dinner and everyone ate. Vegetables too. And then we went for a drive to look at holiday lights.
And after bedtime, when we’ve normally run out of words and thoughts and are ready to zone out on our way to our own dreamland, M and I went on and on about this cute thing she did or that funny look he made and settled happily into one of those “aren’t our kids so great” moments that are really some of the loveliest moments.
And today is Sunday and Sunday brought more of the good stuff. And I am happy.
I get conflicted around the holidays. I want to see all the people and do all the things and make all the cookies and really I just want to be the holidays. But in the midst of the doing and the seeing and the making, I loose it. I loose the momentum and the energy but mostly I loose the joy. The joy is important. It’s more important than the seeing and the doing and the making. It’s more important than the way the holidays always have been or the way I think they should be in that little corner of my mind that imagines what other people’s holidays must be like and dreams up pure perfection. My joy begets their joy and our joy is what they will remember.
This holiday season, I hope you’ll do what makes you happy.