It’s well documented that small children strive best on structure and routine. In fact, the entire holiday season, starting with Halloween, tends to make kids go bonkers because all of the daily routines have gone out the window. Yet, in a way, the holidays can bring their own kind of structure.
Our family, like many others, has holiday traditions that we faithfully adhere to year after year. In our family, we always put up the tree after the last birthday on the 12th. We always put up the tree in the same manner and always with eggnog and seasonal music. We always go to see The Nutcracker. We always make the same dishes for dinner and always share it with the same family. We always make cookies for Santa (and other friends), we always remember to put out carrots for the reindeer, we always get a “surprise” gift of…well, I think you get the picture.
This year, things have been, well…different. It has seemed more chaotic and less joyful. For various reasons, I just haven’t felt the Christmas Spirit this year. I’ve let things slide that didn’t really need to be done. To my relief, nobody really seemed to notice. My reasoning was that the girls are both teenagers now and all those little things really didn’t matter. That was until Christmas Eve.
Our Little Mimi had a really rough time of it. We were all getting ready to enjoy a movie together…but she had other plans. She was ready to climb into bed at eight o’clock just has she had done as a little tike. All of our Christmas cookies were either stale or had been given away…and worse yet, we were out of carrots. The list of complaints went on…KT had the nerve to want to use her brand new Christmas stocking instead of the ones that we have always used. There were too many presents under the tree…she sure hoped that we remembered that “Santa” always brought at least two thirds of our gifts. Then she tearfully asked if I even remembered to get new underwear. She wailed in sorrow when she saw the answer in my stricken face. (Who knew that a brand new package of undies would be so important?)
This made me think back to when Shaun and I were first married and living in our own apartment. I was thrilled beyond belief to find two blue bowls filled with plastic grass, jelly beans and big chocolate bunnies sitting right outside our door. The Easter Bunny had managed to find me!
Apparently, it doesn’t matter if your babies are big teenagers (or grown up married women) the comfort that comes with holiday traditions is an important one. Never again will I mess with them…even if I have to make a trip in the middle of the night to do so…