We are now in the 12 Days of Christmas: December 26-January 6. Traditionally, this is when the Christmas season started. Not the Friday after Thanksgiving (for U.S. people) until Christmas Day.
Remember that scene from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol when Mr. Fezziwig had all his workers stop on Christmas Eve day so they could party and dance? That's when Christmas began.
And there wasn't quite the rampant consumerism back then as there is now. My parents talked about receiving oranges for Christmas and maybe a small toy or a homemade toy in their stocking when they were children. And that wasn't long ago, back in the 1930's and 1940's. Not long at all compared to the age of the Christmas story itself, which is 2,000+ years old.
How was your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?
Mine was a mix of both sadness and happiness.
On the happy side: both of my children were home, their Dad came over, and we shared a meal, conversations, and took turns opening our gifts, which were few in number. My son worked on his sister's and his dad's laptops while my daughter led the 4 of us in doing online crossword puzzles.
On the sad side: our time at my parents' home with my sister and her family was rushed, due to icy roads and pouring rain (hey, we live in Minnesota, we're suppose to get more snow--not rain on top of snow) and wind.
It felt sad to be rushed because I see how much my Dad's health issues have taken a toll on him. He's quieter, his energy comes in weaker fits and bursts, his health issues affect how he thinks, and his voice is soft.
No parent is ever perfect (Let me be clear here: I am NOT talking about abusive or addictive behavior. Those are totally different subjects that are addressed more in-depth on other blogs.)
I've been imperfect in how I've parented my own two children who are now adults. My parents have not been perfect.
But in spite of all of our imperfections, there is love and grace and the ability to learn and to change. And we adapt to each new cycle in our lives, with humor, with an attempt at understanding, with forgiveness. Change is inevitable. And grief and joy are partners who are never too far away from each other.