Our holiday season was marked with changes in traditions. Our church holds a Christmas Eve service each year. We had never attended, due to our long standing family plans. Our family traditions in our married life together have been: Christmas Eve lunch with my dad and siblings, Christmas Eve dinner with MH's parents (until 2009). We have always celebrated Christmas morning at our house.
Tot was born in 2009. On Christmas Eve 2009, we had lunch with Dad as planned and drove home in the early afternoon to prepare for the dinner with MH's parents. However, severe afternoon rain in our area closed some major roads and MH's parents postponed our dinner because they couldn't get to our house. By morning, the flooding had subsided and MH's parents joined us for breakfast and opening gifts. We all enjoyed it so much that Christmas morning breakfast with them became our new tradition. As a small family, we open our Santa gifts, but then we have breakfast and open the rest of our gifts with MH's parents. Sometimes breakfast and presents also rolls over into a late lunch together as well. Since MH is an only child, this isn't stressful and it's not rushed because no one has anywhere else to go after breakfast. It was also a nice change for Christmas Eve because we didn't have to rush through those plans either.
This year, Dad wasn't with us any longer to share in Christmas Eve lunch. As siblings, we decided to have our family Christmas celebration on the Saturday after Christmas so that our brother from Utah could attend. About a week and a half before Christmas Eve, I was already becoming anxious. We always spent Christmas Eve with my Dad. It's not that it was a "first" occasion without him. I MISSED him and I felt lost not having those plans with him. I heard a good friend from church say that they would be in town and away from family for the first time as well. We made plans to have dinner together.
We were able to attend the Christmas Eve service at church, so we did. I was unprepared for the emotions that came with the ability to attend the service. I had always WANTED to experience that service, but I never wanted to be ABLE to attend. I couldn't even sing the carols through my tears. MH asked if I was okay. I said, "I don't want to be here." He offered to take me home, but I knew that leaving wouldn't fix anything either. After church, we shared a delicious lasagna dinner with our friends. It was a great dinner and a lovely end to the evening.
We came home and let each boy open his "Christmas Eve" presents and set out cookies and milk for Santa. We went to bed a little sad, but mostly full and happy and loved. We woke up to stockings and family and a giddy little boy. MH's parents joined us for breakfast, but had to leave pretty early because it was already sleeting and they needed to get home before the roads got too slick.