Sunday, December 1, 2013

From Where I Stand {Christmas Traditions}

        I grew up in a small town.  My grandparents (mom's parents), lived in a farmhouse outside of this small town. My grandparents had 5 girls (my mom being the middle), and my sister and I made up 2 of the 5 grandkids.  My grandparents and my family were the only ones that still lived "back home," so each Christmas, everyone would come "home" for a few days.  For the most part, everyone fit into my grandparents farmhouse.  Every morning, we'd get up, head to the farm house in pj's for coffee and breakfast. For a few days, we camped out at my grandparents ALL day, sun up to sun down, eating, playing games, napping, playing, talking...just being together.  As my grandparents aged, the farmhouse was sold, and they moved into town, just around the corner from us.  We carried on this same tradition of "camping out." Only now, as the sun was coming up, you'd see people walking around the corner, from house to house we'd go.  There'd be a house for early risers, and a house for the sleeping in teenagers.  I always knew growing up, that I loved this tradition and looked forward to it each year...I don't think I ever verbalized it, yet, now in my adult years, I miss it.  My two older cousins (and myself) have married, and now have to take into consideration the other half's family and traditions, and with 10 kids (ages 10-6 months) between the 3 of us, it's hard to have all of us well, in one place for more than one day (I love that day though, when we're all together).  My hope is that some day, as the first round of great grand kids gets older, we're able to pick back up this tradition, as the other two grandkids start their families.   I look back now, and realized my grandparents, especially my grandmother, must have loved having all of us in one place, even if it was a little loud and crowded.  Christmas of 2000, she'd been battling cancer for a while...she was well enough right before Christmas that they allowed her to come home.  She wasn't her typical self, she was weary and tired, and her spirit was weak, yet, I remember my mom wheeling her out into the living room in her pink robe and hat.  She looked somewhat distant and was quiet.  She sat next to the tree, quiet, and honestly, it bothered me, because she didn't seem herself.  A few years after she was gone, I realized she was observing, probably taking in this last time she'd be with us...storing away her last memories of her family, all together (most of us).  I think she probably felt in her heart this was her last Christmas.  It wasn't a verbalized tradition, or a set in stone tradition, yet, it was tradition enough for us that we just did it...year after year.  The family has grown and changed, we've lost both my grandma and grandpa, but, it's a tradition that I hope will be picked back up in the years to come.  If nothing else, it's given me so great memories from childhood.

      December 2006, I was expecting our second baby due right before Christmas. We took our just two year old, Aubrey, out to a tree farm to pick out a tree.  This was the first time we'd taken her to the tree lot to get out, wander through the trees, and pick one as a family.  Every year since then, we've taken our growing family out to a tree farm, the day after Thanksgiving to get our tree together.

Brandon (25 :) and Aubrey (3) and Adelynne (11 months), Christmas 2007

Christmas 2008 (that is Nolan strapped to me)

Christmas 2009

Christmas 2010

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2013

As I was rummaging through these pictures, I'm reminded of the goodness of our Lord.  I look at Christmas 2007 and think, we had just moved to Plainfield, but, really, life was easy.  The next year, Nolan's here, and I remember being in a pattern of denial that our baby was just fine, to, depression and fear over what the future would hold for this boy who was different.  Fast forward to this year's picture where life's trails are still prevalent, but, our kids are growing, Nolan's in a place of good forward progress, the girls are thriving, and I'm grateful we're all still here, together, holding on to each other and Jesus.

Ecclesiastes 3:4 "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance..."

Tradition: the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on this way.  From my childhood, to adulthood, my hope is that my children will be able to look back at their lives and appreciate unspoken traditions that taught them the importance of family, togetherness, simple times, and a love for the Lord that didn't have to be shouted from mountain tops, but,could be displayed in the way we loved, served, and were with each other.

I've joined a group of ladies doing something called a Circle Blog.  Head on over to Stephanie's blog:, and hear what she's saying in regards to Christmas'll be blessed.

Dedicating this post to my grandmother, Betty, who I look forward to seeing again in heaven someday.