My sister, brother, and I agreed to bring our Sibling Writing Assignment feature back to our blogs. One of us gives an assignment each week, we individually post on the topic, then link the others. You can find Carol's here and Bill's here. Here is the topic for this week:
" As we wind down from another holiday season with family reflect on how the celebrating has changed over the years."
When I arrived to my childhood home before Christmas this year I what had left and what surely remains. Even with my brother doing a long term visit at my mother's house, one tradition that couldn't be pulled off this year, because of time and man/woman power was the hanging of the outside lights. I still loved the way the lights inside glowed warmly as they beckoned me to my Mom's house, but the outside lights were missing. I noticed it, but it didn't concern me.
When I entered the house there were many things that still remained. The angels and nativity scene were on TV console. The holiday cards were hanging on the mirror. the tree was filled with so many traditional ornaments that carried stories and memories. Santas and elves were everywhere. Homemade popcorn balls were wrapped and waiting in gift bags, the cookies were stored on the table, my favorite fruitcake nestled in the refrigerator.
The frenzy, anxiety, and stress of the holiday season had mostly left the house. Our goal was to make Christmas a bit simpler, more relaxed, low key. Mom had worked for weeks preparing food, baking sweets, arranging traditional food gifts, decorating, and cleaning. She had a good helper with my brother,but when I arrived we wanted everything to slow down. Mom was worn out, Her spirit and drive were alive and well, but some new pain was keeping her from doing all that she loves to do.
It was much better slowing things down. We focused on relaxing and doing less. We moved the family meals to my sister's house to take stress off of Mom. We still began each day with coffee and the news, we scrambled on our smartphones and laptops to answer burning questions Mom had about news, famous people, and things she wanted to purchase. We ended each day with Christmas drinks like eggnog and Brandy Alexanders.
Here is the reality. Our family is aging. We are learning our limits. Some of these lessons are slow to be learned, but that is okay. This holiday season went down as one of the best ever.