Christmas, as a family holiday, marks change when your children are no longer young, and it feels like a loss. Our near-30 daughter and her husband recently moved to another state. They long to enjoy their first home at Christmas. She broke the news last week. Of course. We understand.
But it's sad for us. No gathering round the dinner table, savoring the feast as a family. No eagerly opening gifts with them, paper and ribbons flying. No Christmas afternoon movie while a fragrant turkey simmers in the oven. We treasured every corny minute.
And my son and his wife are devoted parents now to a delightful newborn daughter. Yes, we'll be deeply blessed to share her first Christmas, but we'll be fortunate to enjoy her for a few hours. She'll be leaving to join other grandparents, too. Of course. We understand.
Our college student son will share Christmas Day with us. He just wants money though. Frankly, there's nothing he needs or wants. He works hard, goes to school, saves, does well for himself. We admire him, love him, care for him. But he's self-sufficient. Of course. We understand.And our youngest is 14. No longer a little girl excited to lay out cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeer. No longer our sweet young child eagerly anticipating the dawn of Christmas morning. Her gift list will include an iPod, Old Navy clothes, a cool cellphone and a cooler printer......not dolls and legos, not pretend kitchens with adorable little pans and ovens, not story books to share with us. Of course. We understand.
We've been successful parents. Roots and wings. They're educated, self-supporting, faithful, optimistic and happy, clean and sober, are good citizens and know God ( in varying degrees). And we miss them. And we miss being needed by them.
QVC's holiday merchandise was fiber-optic and modern, campy to my eye. But if QVC sells it, it must be popular. It must be the new style of Christmas....instead of pretty decor with a homespun, country air. Like our decades-old, carefully-stored decorations.
Apparently, Christmas styles have passed us by. And our children have grown and gone on with their lives. They have their own Christmas traditions, or soon will.
Watching QVC's Christmas in July, I felt like I didn't even recognize what had always been our favorite family holiday. I felt like a stranger in a strange land.
And it feels like a loss. But we understand. It's God's plan.