Do you ever find yourself wondering what you did at holiday gatherings before you had kids? Where was the focus? Oh, on adult conversation.
Where was all the action? I honestly can’t even remember. I can’t remember cooking without little fingers tugging at me, millions of questions flying in all directions, and the occasional accidental pee puddle on the kitchen floor.
I can’t remember the conversations that took place between a room full of adults or what it was like to eat an entire Christmas meal without being asked a zillion times if I was done eating so it could be present-time (my four-year old asked me as I took every bite of my salad when it was present-time). I remember that torture as a kid – waiting around for what seemed like hours for the adults to eat their huge portions of food, clink glasses, and talk and talk and talk…
I remember my brother, cousins and I torturing ourselves by the Christmas tree, rattling every box that was ours to try and figure out what was inside. We would sort gifts and place them in piles on chairs we designated for our torturous older family members. And we would wait. And wait and wait and wait.
After nearly dying of boredom and frustration, it would finally be present-time.
I have those memories from almost 30 years ago (I’m aging myself here), yet I can’t remember what holidays were like more than four years ago when my oldest son was born. Funny how that happens, huh?
When he was a baby, we goo-goo ga-ga’d over him and his cousin, my brother’s little boy who is only three months older (my mom always wanted grandkids, and she got four in less than two years!).
As he got a little older, we laughed when he threw his food (until he was old enough to scold), made silly faces, talked about all of his latest developments –taking first steps, his latest words, etc. We would take silly pictures of my boys and my brothers’ two kids (same with my brother and sister-in-law and their two boys). There were kids popping from the seams.
Now that they’re a little older, there’s not as much spit-up or crying going on, but the chaos and noise levels have increased, which means, for me, so has the joy. I think that having no kids at the holidays would be boring. Way too quiet.
There were 15 of us at Christmas dinner this year, and there wasn’t a dull moment (from my nephew nearly falling into the swimming pool while riding his trike – the back wheels were literally hanging into the pool - , to my two-year old peeing his pants and crying hysterically about it, to my oldest son falling off his bike and missing a rose bush by just a few inches, to four kids getting into a HUGE fight over a game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos, to every adult conversation being interrupted by loud, tiny voices).
To me, that’s what the holidays have become. Beautiful chaos. And as crazy as it can be, it would be nothing without the crazy.