I say I hate the holidays... and a part of me really, really does. OK, maybe not "hate". How about "dread". I dread the holidays. I dread the impending stress of trying to keep up with the unending, increasingly-expensive wish lists that my kids come up with every year which does not correlate to an increase in my bank account. I dread lugging all the decorations out of storage - and I seem to put up less and less every year.
I dread Christmas cards, which is probably why I haven't sent them in two years. Since I've moved a year or so ago, I receive very few - no one knows my address. I dread seeing my kids get getting older and no longer want to help decorate the tree or make cookies, and ask if they can "hang with their friends" on Christmas Eve.
I want to love the holidays. I want to get back to pulling out all the stops and making it "the best Christmas EVER!" for my kids and me. I want to see the enchantment in their eyes again that makes me want to do all these things.
But what I really want is someone's hand to hold in church on Christmas Eve.
I mean, it's fine, really. It's the eve of Christmas Eve, and the kids are home (because I told them they have to be - and yes, they're downstairs playing video games.) The Christmas tree is lit, and the football game is on TV. I was lucky enough to spend the evening with friends for some much needed laughs. Tomorrow, I will run. I will prepare dishes to take to my mom and dad's on Christmas Day. I will finish some last-minute wrapping. The boys have been instructed to be home by 3:00 so we can prepare to go to church.
I love church on Christmas Eve, especially since we've outgrown the daytime "Birthday Party for Jesus" service. Now we go to the candelight service, and it's gorgeous and homey and inspiring and beautiful...
...and I just want someone's hand to hold on Christmas Eve.
I used to put my arms around my kids. Now, they shy away. It's embarrassing. I get that. Their faces have lost that enchantment - they're bored and want to know where we're going for dinner. I get it. I was their age once. I remember. I look around at all the other families and try to realize that their picture-perfect holiday attire and arms around each other doesn't mean they're perfect through and through. I tell myself to feel blessed with what I have, and I do. My boys are beautiful. They are my life, even though I am not theirs right now. We're at a weird stage, the boys and me. Too old to hold my hand, but too young to let go.
Tears just because it would be nice to have someone's hand to hold on Christmas Eve.