Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Our First Christmas...

Before I begin, I would just like to say that I hope that everyone had a nice Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

I would like to say that our first Christmas was shiny and perfect, but the truth is, I missed celebrating with my family in CA. I've never spent Christmas away from them in 38 years. I guess it wouldn't be normal if I wasn't a little homesick. I think that part of it is that we are all still mourning the loss of our traditional Christmases at my grandparents' house, which ended after they both passed away in 2008.

So, partly because of that, I think I came into the Christmas season a little on the emotional side this year. I am happy, though, that we were able to give a really nice Christmas Eve to Eric's family. My family decided to not do gifts this year, so Eric and I were able to focus our attention on his parents, nieces and nephew, who his parents have raised.

We went to Vancouver, the closest big city (about 40 miles away) about 2 weeks ago and did a marathon shopping day that turned out to be pretty productive and successful. I wrapped everything a few days before Christmas.

His family does things pretty informally, which is the complete opposite of my family. But, since we were hosting and because I have certain high expectations of myself as the hostess, I wanted to set a beautiful Christmas table for them. We used our wedding china for guests for the first time and my grandma's silver, which I'm so thrilled to have inherited.

The dinner was simple: some pizza, and I made BBQ chicken in the oven, Mexican rice, a salad, and my special chocolate chip sherry bundt cake, but we had a nice time. Eric's mom has been in a physical therapy rehab center with a broken foot and she just lost her sister about a week and a half ago, so knowing that we could give her a lovely evening away from the hospital for a few hours helped me to get out of my own pity party.

The evening was nice and comfortable and ended a bit earlier than what I'm used to simply because Eric's dad had to drive his mom back to the hospital (she had gotten leave for a few hours.) Eric and I cleaned up after the dinner and took Bailey for a walk in the rain, looking through windows and seeing other families celebrating their Christmas Eves and counting our own blessings.

Christmas Day was quiet. We only had one gift to open, from Eric's best friends, the Porters, which turned out to be a bean bag tic-tac-toe set up for the family room downstairs. It was a relief to see what was in that box, because we had been guessing for a week and had absolutely no idea what it was. We had fun setting it up and hurling the beanbags through the holes for about half an hour. Next came a quick phone call to my mom, who was at my brother's house, a nice Christmas breakfast, and a little more emotional tears from me followed.

But once again I had an opportunity to put things into perspective. We went and saw his mom at the hospital. If that doesn't make you count your blessings, nothing will. It was the proverbial scene with elderly people lining the hallways, looking a little lost. I tried to smile at the ones whose eyes I met, again counting my blessings, of which we have so, so many.

After the hospital and a quick trip to drop off an old TV/VCR to Eric's dad, we came home, grateful to have a nice warm home, grateful to have each other, and reminded of what Christmas is all about. We ended up snuggling downstairs watching A Christmas Story on TV and laughing uncontrollably at the funny jokes that never made sense when you watch that movie as a kid.

What a day! What lessons learned.


Tricia said...

Slaaa.... sniff, sniff. Despite the homesickness, you have a beautiful perspective. Happy New Year Slistie!!

Kristie said...

Thanks, Slishy! Well, I decided to either buck up and learn something or just be homesick and sad. It was really a no-brainer!

garcias said...

I am sorry your Christmas was sad. I can say that my first Christmas after I got married was really sad for me. It is hard to be away from traditions. I remember I called my mom and sobbed. :) But it does get better as new traditions are developed. I hope you have a happy New Year!

Kristie said...

Thanks, Sal. I don't know if I would say it was sad, just different and a little emotional. You would think that with this year of extreme changes I would take it in stride, but the tears took over!

Sally said...

Hey slooky. I too am sad you just had to spend your first Christmas away from beloved family traditions. (The garcias comment was from my sister Eileen.) I had the opposite experience this year. We spent Christmas with my parents after about 10 years of not being home for Christmas. It was so fun and I will cherish the memories but I was surprised to find that I missed a few of the little traditions that we've established for our own family over the years.

Here's hoping this Christmas will be something the chuckle over in happier Christmases to come!

Karen said...

I'm not surprised it was a little tough being away from your family! I didn't realize it was the first time ever! I appreciate your perspective on it all, though, and I like that you could find the positives. Just one of the many reasons why I love ya!

Kristie said...

Oops, didn't pay attention to the "garcias" tag enough. And if ya can't put a positive spin on things, you just wind up in the dumps! Thanks, ladies!