I just realised why it feels so weird.
I know that everyone says that they don’t feel Christmassy and all every year, but I was definitely feeling something different about the end of the year this year, and just now it hit me what it is.
Both my children have finished school. This is the first year in 18 years that I haven’t had an ‘end of school’ routine with a child. I haven’t had any final assemblies, any prizes or awards, any end of year activity days.
And yes, Moz is still a teacher, and would normally attend all these things, giving me some sense of normalcy, but this year he got hit with the horrible cold thing – the one that ends with the everlasting hacking cough (apparently) – and wasn’t able to attend any of the end of year things for his school at all.
And while I’ve finished up work for the year, I’ve been doing that slowly and in pieces for a few weeks now. There was no big last-day marker.
So this year the end of the year has come in a dropwise, petering out, unmarked fashion.
And it feels weird.
But in another way, it’s been really nice. We’ve taken it slow. Our tree isn’t up yet (the picture is from 2013) and I’m not worried about it.
Tonight the kids both come home – Jess from Canberra, and Caleb from a four-day road trip – and tonight we will start to celebrate Christmas and end-of-year-ness together. I’m really looking forward to it.
With two adult children we’re starting a new set of traditions.
I have a friend who has moved to a small mining town in Western Australia. This will be her second Christmas ever without her wider family around. She also needs to start a new set of traditions. And I think she’s feeling a little weird too.
Then there’s my friend whose father-in-law passed away just last night, and things have changed for that family too.
We have such high expectations for the Christmas period. We build them year by year. We can do it all ourselves but we’re given unhelpful help from Christmas movies, TV shows, advertising, and all the marketing guff that goes on.
For some people this time of year is incredibly hard as they battle loneliness, addictions, and so on. But even for those of us blessed with happy families and first-world wealth the changes that each year brings can shock us and hurt us as we approach a milestone like Christmas Day.
I find it helpful to go back to the foundations. For me, the foundation of Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ. That is enough for a huge celebration no matter where I am or what I’m doing.
The second foundation stone for me is the celebration of family. My own husband and children, my parents and siblings, my in-laws, and my church family. No matter what the day brings I have so much to be grateful for.
I hope that you can find something to be grateful for this Christmas, even if you celebrate through tears.
Lots of love,