I love Christmas morning. I love Christmas morning every bit as much if not more than any child on earth. Christmas morning is the happiest time of the year for me and it always has been. I loved it as a child, but I have loved it even more as a mother. I love it because I get to see my children gathered around my tree and I get to give them things. The sight of my children sitting around our tree on Christmas morning does something to the deepest depths of my soul that I am woefully inadequate to describe. I only know that it fills me with joy and my heart runs over with love.
When I discovered I was pregnant with Austin I cried for four months. It was not in my plans to start over with my oldest child away at college! The thing that made me stop crying was the thought that I would have a believer again at Christmas!!! That got me through and I've since learned that he was to be much more to all of us than just a "believer" at Christmas. As the big kids grew up, they enjoyed the whole "Santa Magic" thing all over again through Austin. So, even though they were grown up and even married, Christmas morning would find them rushing over here on Christmas morning (even in PJ's), so they wouldn't miss Austin coming downstairs to see what Santa brought. Austin was their joy on Christmas morning. He was mine too, but what they didn't realize was that them being there was just as vital to me as Austin was. You see, it doesn't matter how old they are on Christmas morning, they are my babies and they belong around my tree ! For several years, Emily wasn't here, and the void was felt. It wasn't something that I ever got used to. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Christmas to me is having my children surrounding me as daylight dawns and all of our traditions begin to unfold time after time. We listen to the same music every year, we have the same breakfast every year, we go through the same routines every years and I never, ever, ever tire of it.
Today at Sarah's we were talking about Christmas morning this week and I asked Sarah what time she and Bennie would be coming over. And she said, "Early". And then she said that this would be the last year that they would be over early on Christmas morning because next year Brooks would be older and that they would want to stay home and watch him wake up and see what Santa brought him. And my very first thought was, "Of course they would". And that's when it hit me. That's when I realized that these Christmas traditions that we so take for granted can and will change over time. I don't know why in the world I hadn't thought of it before. It. just. hadn't. occurred. to. me.
When I think of it, it doesn't really matter where we are on Christmas morning as long as my children are with me. So, one of the suggestions was that next year, we come to Sarah and Bennie's house bright and early and we'll get to see Brooks wake up and run to the tree. That's probably what we will do. I can't imagine it just being Jimmy and I watching Austin opening presents on Christmas morning and then waiting for the afternoon to roll around for the big kids to come over and opening gifts with them. It would just seem so fractured and splintered.
And just this minute I realized that one day (and sooner than I want to think) Austin will be grown up and not living here. And, how in the world am I going to manage being around all four of my children's Christmas tree "bright and early" on Christmas morning to watch all of my grandchildren open their presents from Santa?
I guess I always knew that "someday" that tradition would change. Of course it would, children grow up and have babies of their own. And when that happens, it's only natural that they want to sit around their own tree on Christmas morning and watch their children open presents from Santa Claus. And you know what, that is how it should be. I want them to know the joy that a parent feels as they experience that. I've had it for 29 years now so it's their turn.
As wonderful as it is to have adult children I have dreaded seeing each of them leave home and my nest. I often laughingly say that I had children because I wanted children in my life and I didn't understand why they had to grow up and move out! I've said it kind of as a joke but it's really the truth of my heart. But time marches on doesn't it? Sooo, I will march right along with it and I will remind myself that I've had my time, and now it's their turn to develop their own Christmas morning traditions with their own children and be grateful for every Christmas morning I've had with them around MY tree. Yep, that's what a graceful, inspired, loving mother does. But that little devil that sits on my shoulder is saying, "Isn't it bad enough that you now have wrinkles, bad knees, need reading glasses, and have to get your hair color from a bottle. Do you have to give up your traditional Christmas mornings too?" Don't worry, I'll get her under control and next year I'll be at Sarah and Bennie's bright and early with the Alabama Christmas CD and all the breakfast fixins and this Grandma will learn to love every traditional minute of it.