Christmas was always a magical time in our family. My mom made sure the tree was perfect. She made sure the gifts looked perfect. The baking. The cooking. The table. Everything was placed in a certain way to look perfect. Even as an adult it was still a magical time going over for Christmas morning or dinner. The gifts were always perfect. She knew what to get us even if it was something we didn’t think of ourselves. She donated to different charities, helped others in need.
When Jesse and I moved in together we started to rotate between morning and dinner with our parents. This way it was fair and we weren’t rushed at either location. Christmas mornings were filled with fruit and Pillsbury baked goods. There was Christmas music playing, the lights were on the tree, we were in our pajamas. Together as a family.
This year Christmas was going to be different. Actually it was going to be different forever but this was the first time we would have new traditions. We had several family gatherings to attend. We had invites for friends parties. I was hosting Christmas Morning. This wasn’t a different Christmas because my mom was gone but it was also because we had a baby. At 3 months old we wanted to make sure our traditions were perfect.
We sent out an invite for Christmas to my sister and Dad and my God-Mother. My sister and Dad RSVP’d. Christmas eve was here. I was frantically running around hanging picture frames on the walls, making sure small clutter was cleaned. This was the first gathering we would be having for family on a holiday. I was a hot mess. Jesse was sitting on the couch as I was rage cleaning and said “Do you think your dad is going to notice you hung pictures?” I don’t think I have ever given him such an angry look before.
Christmas morning was here! My sister and Dad came together. We kept our same tradition of Cinnamon Buns and turnovers. We chatted and exchanged gifts. We pretended that Lilly opened gifts. It was a different morning but it was a perfect first Christmas for Lilly. My sister and Dad left to go back to his place to get ready for our family dinner. My in-laws came over for Lilly’s First Christmas.
After their visit we headed to my Aunt’s house for family Christmas. This was one of my mom’s sisters' houses. It was emotional. It was the first family holiday we had been to since my Mom’s funeral. Not that I was avoiding it. Well actually yes I was avoiding it. I was avoiding the sad eyes. And the apologies. Lilly got grumpy at the end of dinner. I was so embarrassed and had to get up with her for a bit. She was hot. She was always hot. I ended up stripping her down to her diaper so that she could cool down. Cue the judgement looks and quiet comments. I’m not sure what my mom would have thought about Lilly being in a diaper at Christmas dinner.
I still think about how Christmas would be if Mom was still here. Would she make it as magical for Lilly? Would she have spoiled her? Would we still be going to their home for Christmas?
It’s hard not to think of the what if’s. Especially since I know how much she loved Christmas. Our tradition has continued over the years. But we now spend Christmas Day dinner at home. Just the 3 of us. We order in Chinese Food and watch a Christmas movie and just be together. It’s not perfect for everyone but it is perfect for us.