Maybe I'm feeling a bit sentimental because it's now 10:30 and we have finally put our youngest to bed with the promise of a visit from St. Nicholas, just as my father did when I was little. Perhaps it is due to the fact that we are missing our oldest son, 14, as he struggles with disabilities in a residential school out of state. Whatever the reason, my post this Christmas Eve has nothing to do with places to go or things to see, and everything to do with You. Yes, You. And Me.
I had a bit of a revelation tonight driving home from the Christmas Play at Trinity Presbyterian, at which our 4 year-old performed admirably as a skunk in the Nativity (don't ask). Up until the last minute today, I had been Mom Who Could Make Perfect Christmas. Rushing, cleaning, wrapping, and creating the ultimate in holiday cheer and goodwill.
Our children grow up in an instant; one day they are thrilled with Santa Claus and elves and magic, the next they are snarky teenagers embarrassed to attend another family dinner lest mom or dad say something that will send them over the proverbial edge of humiliation. We will regret the lost moments of sentimentality.
Instead of recommending a family activity around Anchorage this Christmas, I am recommending instead just the Family. Unadorned, nothing fancy, just mom, dad, and the kids doing whatever comes naturally. Open those presents, enjoy breakfast together, and before the WiiFit is plugged in and everyone zones out in front of the big screen, take some time to revel in this beautiful corner of the world. Go sledding, take the dog for a walk, and drink hot cocoa together.
We would give anything to have our son home to make our family complete tonight. Take a moment to hug your kids this Christmas, even if they don't want you to, and explain that one day they will thank you for it.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas, and may Peace bless you this night and always.