Sunday, January 2, 2011

Saying Goodbye, So That We Might Say Hello

The "holidays" are finally winding down... in a few short hours I will be heading to my folks house for the final celebration in a long string of celebrations. Each year is different, but this year was especially so. It would be the obvious route to assume that it's because this is my first year experiencing the holidays as a mom, and that is definitely a big factor, but there's something else I can't quite put my finger on.

Maybe it's that this is really the last year we will be able to do things the way we have been in terms of our old family traditions. It's time now to create our own. Honestly I'm stumped. I know what Christmas felt like to me growing up and over the years I've learned from my husband what Christmas was like for him, but what will it be like for our son and future children? And just how much should we shape that experience?

When you're little the holiday's just seem to happen. One day you're eating turkey around the table with all of your Aunts, Uncles and cousins then the next snow is beginning to fall and presents start making their home under the freshly decorated tree. Next thing you know you wake up Christmas morning to all kinds of wondrous surprises that magically appeared overnight. Even later as teenagers and young adults when we knew that it all didn't just happen on it's own we still didn't really think about the hours that went into making the holiday meals as we consumed them or the budgeting behind the gifts as we unwrapped them.

Don't get me wrong, I haven't lost the magic, not entirely; watching my son experience it all for his very first time was indeed awe inspiring. But, this year was the first that I felt as though I observed instead of experienced. I made every attempt to remain in the present, but despite my best efforts I was watching the director's commentary version of the film instead of the story as it was meant to be experienced.

Maybe it was the new mother in me, trying to figure this all out. How it's going to be from here on. We have to take inventory of the way things are in order to change how they're going to be. It was a bittersweet season. I didn't expect going into it that I would have anything to grieve... but to make way for wonderful new experiences (things I truly desire in my life) I need to be willing to give up some really amazing things. So many things that I don't want to change, that, for all I know I could be experiencing for the very last time. I've heard it many times that good is the enemy of great, but I never realized how that applies to the process of growing into a new family unit until now. Sure it makes sense in terms of business, and success building habits... but, coming to terms with what it means to leave behind family traditions I've cherished my whole entire life to make way for new traditions my kids can feel the same way about was not something I expected. It took me by surprise.

It's time to say goodbye, so that next year we can say hello.

I'll miss you Christmas. We shall meet again next year as new creatures. Until then, I thank you for what you have been to me all these years.


  1. You couldn't have said it more beautifully, Cat!! Thank you for your updates, I love them! Keep them coming!

  2. Dear Cat, this is such a beautiful piece, very sensitively written. You really captured a sense of wonder and surprise! It recalled for me the times when we were just discovering who "our family" now was, and who WE were in it. Looking back now as a wife, mother , employee, I wonder if I have lost the person that WAS. I am so glad you have begun this blogging adventure! I wonder how much of this sence of observer standing out side yourself has to do with your stepping up to the writer inside yourself.

    I want to thank you as well for the BEAUTIFUL Christmas letter I only got the chance to read a few days ago. It was so thought provoking to consider how the VERY young mother Mary might have had to redefine who "SHE" was in light of the new roles thrust upon her.

    Keep it coming!

  3. Wendy - I hadn't thought of that, but now that you mention it, it makes perfect sense. Writing does require a healthy (and sometimes not-so-healthy) dose of observing. Typically I've been more a reflective writer... not really planning anything out in advance, but I feel as though that may be changing even as I type this. I've been actively seeking out inspiration more and more lately instead of sitting around waiting for it to happen.

    Thanks for your encouraging and thought provoking words. I always appreciate hearing your honest opinion. I have admired you as an artist for pretty much my whole life, and so your praise means a lot to me!


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