I remember the first time I spent part of Christmas away from my family. I can't remember if it was Christmas Eve or Night, but we were with Captain's family opening presents. I think maybe it was Eve, which means the first Christmas Eve dinner with my family which was moved was my fault. It happens as we get older.

I knew compromises would be made, and Captain was up early Christmas morning to be over at my house as we all crawled out of bed to open presents. The stocking we gave him, because we were stocking people, was a man's white sock with nuts, an orange, candy, and I don't know what else went in it. But this was apparently the night before, and in the midst of joy and celebration my heart was hurting.

I felt disloyal to my family in some strange way. It was as if I couldn't fully enjoy myself because that would say I would rather be there than with them, and I was in turmoil because I knew his family was being so very kind and caring. His uncle even talked to me about missing the family and being apart from them for my first Christmas, or part of it. I couldn't seem to make everything work in my heart that night.


As years went on we had several Christmas' apart from both our families due to not being able to get home. I learned it was okay to enjoy where I was in that moment. I learned the giblets in the turkey don't come out well when the bird is still partially frozen. I learned ham sandwiches are sometimes the perfect option. I learned how to fully be where I was in that moment. Would I have liked our entire family with us? Some of those holidays, yes. But me enjoying myself did not mean I didn't want them there.

I don't know why it took me so long to learn that.

As the munchkin start to move out and start lives of their own I am very well aware they wont be able to come home every holiday. Even when they do come home it will not be the same as when they were here. I know this is as it should be, and yet I can feel myself struggling with my emotions again. I want them here opening their presents and digging into their stockings right beside me. I want them here as they have been for the past 18 years. But to demand or expect that would only be selfish. And to mope because I don't get it would be foolish. I would be missing out on some amazing times if I did that.

So instead as we enter into this new year I am going to work hard to make the most of every moment. Celebrate when they are here and when they aren't. Love on them when they are here and when they are not. I am not going to hold onto Yesterday, for it is gone, and I am not going to place any expectations on Tomorrow, for I have no control. Rather I am going to simply enjoy Today and be grateful for where each of us are, wherever we are.

 (Please go read Emily's post One alternative to pessimism and optimism at Chatting with the Sky for the inspiration behind this post.)


  1. Oh, I love this Stacey! It has taken me a long time to grow up and accept the differences that Christmas brings for adults. Always so much to learn, but embracing right where we are at is such a blessing. I'm learning too!

  2. Yesterday we had pizza because the turkey was still too frozen.We had it today instead. It's taken me a long time to realize that its the moment that counts and to be in it, no matter what it happens to look like. We are finding new blessings of acceptance as our children move and grow as well, another time of learning! Thanks for your beautiful words. :)

    1. I saw that, Katharine, and you are so right. I am learning getting upset really doesn't fix a thing. ((hugs)) I'm glad your turkey was worth the wait!!

  3. This was very timely for me as I'm on the cusp of an empty nest.... but very aware that an empty nest does NOT equal an "empty next" :) I'm learning new things about how to celebrate in the now and not hold myself or others hostage with unhealthy guilt. Love you Ms. Daze!

    1. Loretta, YES! I am so trying to let the guilt go. The guilt I wear and the guilt I want to share. NO NEED for that! Love you too!!


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