Wednesday, December 27, 2006

An Instructive Christmas

Well, we had a wonderful Boxing Day. Kaetlyn went to the first day of her first job - covering for holiday time at Silver Star. Andrew spent the day at a friends house playing games and Dean and Rhiannon and I hung out in a quiet house, eating apple pie for breakfast and playing games. Rhiannon made Dean breakfast in bed and we went for a hike in Kal Lake Park, pulling Rhiannon on the sled from time to time and sliding down all the hills in the gloaming. Kaetlyn and Drew were home and happy in the evening and we visited and laughed and went to bed early.

Christmas Day was another story. I know that Christmas can be stressful for many people - we have so many expectations and pressure to meet others' expectations. Or it can be that way. I've thought that we had a pretty good grip on these things and our Christmases have been relaxed and fun. I have always put a great deal of effort in making our Christmases magical. Althought my children make and buy gifts for each other on their own, I am certainly the band leader, orchestrating everything. I learned something very important this Christmas Day. I learned that anytime I 'do it all' for my family I am robbing them of many things. Not only of the opportunity to participate but also of the opportunity to see how much they affect other people - what they do to contribute to the atmosphere. And robbing them of these things can come back and bite me in the ass.

Because of the 14 year spread in years in my children's ages, Santa has come for the older children long after what would be appropriate if their youngest sibling wasn't 6. It was what my parents did for me. I was 18 the last time Santa came for me. And I have done all the Santa-ing for my children despite their advancing ages on my own. And I have done it happily - sometimes stressfully, but always with love and with hopes of their enjoyment. This will be the last year that happens. My two oldest daughters behaved abominably on Christmas Day. I'm sure there is a nicer way to put that - one that doesn't imply judgement but at this point, I am judging their behaviour. There was jealousy and comparing and complaining. There was mean-ness in the full meaning of the word - meaning petty and stingy and smallness of spirit.

I was hurt, of course. And disappointed. But mostly, I realized that I had missed something. I am the master of my own destiny and I had to admit that I had created this scenario. Not that I am responsible for their behaviour. But that I had set myself up by not requiring more of them - not that I assign them tasks but that I include their input and make them apart of creating the magic of Christmas. Dinner was pretty much ruined but I have been enjoying the left overs...

So next year at the beginning of October we are going to have a family meeting (7 year old not included) and we will decide together what we are going to do for Christmas and we will divide up the responsibilities. And you know what? Its been 23 years since I had a stocking. And I've been making them for 20 years. I think it is about time I got one, don't you? If we decide to do stockings, that is. That will be a group decision.

So my Christmas was not as relaxing and happy as I would have liked but I learned something very important. Something I seem to continue to learn in different ways. I learned about letting go. I learned about the importance of helping my children to grow up and share in creating our family environment. I learned more than I can possibly put into a blog. It has been my curse and my blessing to have such a strong personality. It has served me well in many situations but there have also been times when I have learned that the kindest thing is really to step back and allow others to join with me. Just because I CAN do it all myself doesn't mean it is a good idea to do that.

So, Merry Christmas everyone. If yours wasn't as happy as you would have liked, I hope you learned something to. Learning is good.

6 comments:

sarstott said...

Merry Christmas Andrea, we missed you out here!

Karey said...

sorry to hear your christmas day wasn't so good.

Mary-Sue said...

wow. what a powerful lesson, Andrea! That is inspiring. it's a good lesson for ALL of us, especially those of us with all our kids under 6 at this point... to set things up so that the magic is the emphasis, and not what people get... and to let everyone be responsible for their own christmas happiness. including the 6 year old!! in our house, santa is more energy than person, and he brings each of us one small thing, one that we've been whispering into the wind that we'd love. it's worked well for us so far, i'll be keen to hear how the october meeting goes and how the results are as well! you're so good to be open to lessons. xoxo

Mary-Sue said...

p.s.
i think you sould start making a lovely stocking for YOU right now. and put it out all year so that you remember that you can't get what you don't give -- and let your children own that! own their own giving spirit, thus, you'll be setting them up to live an abundant life... and it'll be a good reminder to you, too, to be open to the receiving, not just the giving... i'm thinking a lovely crocheted alpaca/red yarn stocking would be lovely and stretchy. hee hee!

Mary-Sue said...

i'm always struggling with doing too much for EVERYone in my life. and realize that i am putting forth this example for my children of an unbalanced life. you can't give what you don't have, thus you have to accept what people offer, and you don't get what you're not willing to give, thus you have to always have an open hand...
i KNOW this but i struggle to live it. i think this is my new year's resolution. thanks for helping me sort it out! ha!

aynur bicer said...

happy new year