4th Birthday Love

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On December 20th, Potamus turned 4. We had celebrated his birthday earlier in the month, but with grandparents and aunties in various locations around the state, really this kid is getting birthday month (um, as it should be? Speaking as another December baby for a minute here…).

Four years. I have so many thoughts about these last four years. I used to tell people that when you move to a new place it takes four years to settle in. I really believe that about places, but I also believe that about parenting. I have felt an amazing connection to motherhood in the past four years, but what I have noticed lately, is my distinct lack of angst about getting him yet another peanut butter cracker/glass of orange juice/etc. What used to feel like having competing Internet Explorer browsers open, now feels a little bit more like a humming program running in the background, while the internet browser is open to whatever tab I want it to be.

I know that in 8 weeks this will change with the birth of my second kid, but it feels like year 4 with little dude is in a really good place.

And look at how sweet he is in that picture? So big. So big that Boof said, “I barely recognize him in those pictures from his first year.” I know. It’s crazy.

Happy 4 Years Buddy. I’ll leave you with this recent quote of his:

“Before you were born, I was just a lady. And you made me a mommy.”

“Yeah! And you made me a [Potamus] and I made daddy a daddy. We all made each other.”

WE ALL MADE EACH OTHER.

Wisdom from a 4 year old.

 

Christmas Spirit

Thrift Store Christmas Tree

I really love the Christmas season, though, for me, I really just consider it the Winter Magical Wonderland season, because with my birthday on December 13, and our anniversary (and now Potamus’ birthday) on December 20th, the whole month of December is much more than just Christmas Day. But, as much as I love the magic of white Christmas lights, and have such nostalgia about Christmas memories from childhood, I’ve actually felt pretty grinchy about Christmas for the past few years.

And it wasn’t until reading Am I a Grinch or Will I Find the Christmas Spirit Someday? over on Offbeat Home, that I really started to articulate it to myself. Sure, in therapy, a few weeks ago I made the connection that Christmas has been stressful because we have managed to be everywhere for everyone for the past 5 years, and it’s exhausting (not to mention we’ve felt like we’ve half-assed a lot of it).

But as I was reflecting over on that post, I think what has contributed to my grinchyness feeling, as far as not really wanting to decorate my own house much, or get too into too many traditions, is that Boof’s family felt very solidified in terms of THEIR TRADITIONS. And whereas, my family had spent many years celebrating Christmas Eve, and then it switched to more Christmas Day, it felt more low-key. Of the people in my family, I was the one that usually felt most tied to a particular tradition, but that’s mostly around food than about the actual day or what we do. So, I liked Christmas Eve because we could open presents and then sleep instead of waking up early to open presents. Seemed much less stressful. But Boof’s family had a set specific ritual of driving across the state on-Christmas-day to make it to Eastern WA by dinner, having dinner in the woods with their grandparents, and then spending the next 5 hours systematically opening presents one by one and finally playing a game of Trivial Pursuit.

The thing is, I am just now realizing, that I expected that traditions would change when we got married. Not that I want the world to revolve around me, but I guess I just assumed that Boof and I would form a few more traditions of our own, and try less to fit into the traditions of either of our families. And I don’t think we did that. I think we actually tried to really hold on to the traditions of his family, and have me fit into them, which did work, and was fun, but then when I was pregnant and everything had to change it felt like I was the reason for change…like I was the bad guy…and not that things change when people get married and have kids. I felt responsible for throwing a wrench in the traditions, like the extra 10lbs of fat keeping you from fitting nicely into the jeans. And that wasn’t a good feeling. 

Before I had the mentality that my  house didn’t need to be Christmassy, because we wouldn’t be here for Christmas. We always traveled…even if just down the road to my in-laws or across the state to my parent’s, or across the state to Boof’s grandparent’s. But then, I was thrift shopping (mostly taking pictures of ridiculous things that people donate to thrift shops), and found the sweetest little Charlie Brown Christmas tree, with pre-lit lights, for only $20. And it’s put up, in the corner of our living room, by my bookshelf..and I love it. I don’t know why this 4 foot cheesy tree, with a giant hole of missing branches in the back, makes me teary eyed. I know it isn’t gonna be a tree we have for years and years, but it just feels right. Like we can sit around the Christmas tree on Christmas morning, before we head over to my in-law’s, and drink coffee and watch Jake & the Neverland Pirates, or not, and our house has a little Christmas cheer to it. It feels like I have come to a place where I realize that we can’t do everything, and we get to decide and explore what things we like and want. Like changing from Trivial Pursuit to Carcassone, because that’s a WAY BETTER game 😉

How have your holiday traditions changed over the years? Are you a Grinch or totally into the whole Christmas season?