How A Mom Helps When Holidays Go Wrong
Guest blog by Kenna McHugh“When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.” ― Bob Hope
My children have always loved Christmas.My sister-in-law announced, “We’ve decided to celebrate Christmas with the family on Christmas Eve. I know, we haven’t done it before, but we have an early flight to Mexico the day after Christmas, and we don’t want to be tired for the flight.” Looking at my brother’s wife, Karen, I never thought switching the date would adversely affect my family’s holiday celebration. I said, “I am all for it. It will be fun celebrating on Christmas Eve.” My other sister-in-law, Cindy, voiced some doubt, “Don’t think Bob is going to budge. You know how he insists we go to his sister’s every Christmas Eve. I am just saying. I don’t think it will work.”
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I lamented to myself, “Why couldn’t I be as wealthy as my brother, then my house would be large enough to accommodate the whole family. We could celebrate as usual on Christmas Day. His family can leave early, and nothing would change.” I informed my family about the change, and they didn’t want to budge either. My kids spoke of the tradition of opening the one present, new pajamas, every Christmas Eve. My husband reminded me that he usually works late on Christmas Eve. It’s one of the busiest days for his company. “It will be great because you will be with your cousins. We’ll open the pajama presents when we get home from the family’s party. Christmas will be our day together.” I forced a smile at my husband, “It will all work out.” On Christmas Eve the bad vibes arrived. My husband texts, “Snow is falling, roads are closed. I am not making it home tonight.” My kids were not happy, “Can we still open our pajama presents when we get home?”“Yes. You can open your pajama presents. We still have our family to celebrate Christmas with, and Dad will be home by morning.” We arrived at my brother’s on time, and they were already opening presents. My son and daughter looked at me like, “What is going on?” I quickly passed around the presents, confusion everywhere with my nieces and nephews playing with presents they already opened. Their parents corralled them together to open our presents.
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Cindy left with her family to go to Bob’s sisters house. We had no time to talk or acknowledge presents. My daughter’s favorite cousin left. She will have no one to hang out with, and she gave me the teary-eyed look, “My night is ruined.” My son ran upstairs with my nephew, and my daughter latched on to me. I poured a red, and hoped for the best. Soon one of my brother’s clients and his wife and children arrived. I couldn’t control the sentiment, “I thought this was a family affair.”My daughter and I were completely ignored, and we went home early. But then, my husband arrived in time to open the pajamas. Something as small as opening pajamas lifted the mood and we were truly happy to have Daddy back and our family together. Everything else melted away. The next day was wonderful, celebrating Christmas as a small family and grateful for the simple occasion. The kids, of course, loved opening the gifts and I appreciated my small circle of happy people celebrating. I changed my mind about the big house. Christmas is not about the size of the house, it’s about who is in it.