The holiday spirit hit our home early this year.  By early, I mean, that the day after Halloween, Jack started talking about Christmas–  trees, Santa, presents, and the days off from kindergarten.

The other morning, I woke up to the strains of “Up on the Rooftop” coming out of his room.

Usually around this time of year, I develop an angry case of irritable bowel syndrome.  It is like a tradition.  I suppose it could be all the holiday eating, but more than likely, it is the stress.  My husband and I both come from “blended” families, so there is a lot of shuffling around and visiting, making sure we hit all of the important players in our life.  Don’t get me wrong; I love my family, but the season takes a lot of energy.  We get very little “down time” between Thanksgiving and New Years.

The holidays have never been my favorite time of year.  My parents divorced when I was very small, and I got moved back and forth throughout the season.  While this did nothing to scar me for life, it was somewhat stressful on a little kid, and I remember being homesick while away from my mom.  I just can’t recall being excited or merry at this time of year.

People have been posting all month about the various things for which they are thankful, big and small.  I have a sense of extreme gratitude for being part of my own, intact little cluster of humans.  I am thankful that my little ones will never have to leave their new toys on Christmas afternoon to go someplace else.  All of their holidays will include their mom and dad together under one roof.

People do the best that they can.  I have nothing against divorce, and cast no judgement on people who chose to end their marriage for whatever reason.  I also don’t want to come across as smug or gloating.  But I am just so happy that my marriage is strong and that we are writing a different story for these kids, our kids.

This sense of thanks for my nuclear family may come from the fact that Emily is here now, and I know that we are complete.  She is the final member of our foursome.  Last holiday season, she was a newborn, and blissfully unaware of the hustle and bustle.  This year, I just can’t wait to see the look on her face when we turn the lights on our tree.  And at five, Jack has a whole new awareness of things, a sense of anticipation that is epic and infectious.  I mean, it is Thanksgiving and I am already writing about Christmas!

I am jolted with joy when I hear Jack singing carols and dancing around the house.  I find myself eager to get that tree up, to go and look at lights, to start listening to carols and making cookies with the kids.  I can’t wait to be on Christmas vacation while Jack is out of school so we can play with new toys, lounge around by the tree, and eat chex mix.

We all have our stories of trial and tribulation that have made us who we are.  And we can let those tales be of woe, or of wonder.  Since having children, I have been offered a second chance to experience the wonder of the season through their eyes.  It is not an opportunity I will squander.

I am the mom.  I am in control of writing this story for my children.  It will be a happy one.  There will be cookies and carols and cider.  I will not stress over crumbs, broken ornaments, or late bed times.

And I have already bought a box of maximum strength probiotic to humor that irritable bowel.


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