Growing up, Christmas Eve was always my dad’s day, meaning we spent that day with his family. I always counted down the hours until we got together with that large family group. My dad was the oldest of four full-siblings and two half-siblings. There were lots of aunts and uncles and cousins. It was loud. It was fun.
Traditions changed as we grew. It’s part of growing up I guess. But even if we didn’t see all my dad’s siblings, we still saw him. We lost my dad in 2008. I especially miss him on Christmas Eve and remember past holidays… like the year he thought a steel bucket full of rocks from the yard could double as a Christmas tree stand. Whoops. That was also the year a falling tree woke us up in the middle of the night – with lots of crushed ornaments and “I told you so’s” from mom.
I am very lucky. While I will always miss my dad, I have all four kids home for Christmas. They are all so different, yet combine to make strangely perfect group. I plan to spend this holiday appreciating just having them here – sleeping in front of the fire, watching Netflix until the early morning hours, filling my kitchen sink with dirty dishes and their bedroom floors with dirty clothes.
This appreciation – and all that comes with it – is what’s under my Christmas tree this Christmas Eve. I don’t really need anything else.
I recognize that I am lucky. I have friends missing people this Christmas, experiencing a first holiday without their child or parent. I remember that first Christmas Eve without my dad. So while I appreciate, I will also keep those in my thoughts who need all the extra sparkle the holidays have to offer. I will remember those who aren’t home for Christmas – and wish anyone hurting peace and strength during this holiday season. If I see them, I will ask how they are doing and not be afraid to offer a hug.
And to my community – thank you. This is our 16th Christmas season in the Snoqualmie Valley. It’s a special place to live. When we picked this place to call home for our four kids, I could’ve never imagined all it would become. Neighbors became good friends. Those four kids – all under the age of 6 when we moved in – grew and learned what community was, and then started going off to college while new neighbors welcomed babies into the world.
But no matter how the Valley has grown and changed, this community has always maintained its core, its heart. Time and time again I have watched it become a family to support those in need. It’s something to appreciate. And I do.
We picked a wonderful place to plant our roots. So Happy Holidays to our community – family, friends, neighbors. Enjoy and appreciate.