Thursday, December 22, 2011

a different kind of Christmas

In early spring, N's Nana passed away.
In late fall, Trinity and Michael's house burned down.
Sometime this year--and now I can't remember when--my parents' divorce was finalized.
It's the first Christmas where I won't see my dad.

All this so say, I felt a deep yearning this December for my family to have something different this year. There are so many traditions and memories that come with Christmastime. Oftentimes, they make us feel warm and fuzzy. Sometimes, they can feel downright awkward. Loss complicates tradition. It can feel funny--am I supposed to still go through with this tradition even though this person/place/thing isn't here anymore? And grief heightens your sense of memory. Every little thing can seem like a reminder. It can be difficult to find a balance between hanging on to old memories and moving on with new ones. Difficult, but important.

So since both sides of mine and N's families have had turbulent years, I brought up to the families that we might try and go to my grandparents' lake house this year instead.

Everyone said--without much hesitation--"yes."

We're going to have one, small, fake Christmas tree, and maybe a balsam and fir candle.
We'll eat off of paper plates and wear pajama pants if we want to.
We'll sift through which traditions are appropriate this year and which ones may need to be shelved for awhile, at least.
We'll watch the kiddos run around and play with their new toys. We'll hold the new baby and burp him after he nurses.
I'm excited to have mine and N's immediate families under the same roof. I want to feel what that blend feels like.

I'm looking forward to a different kind of Christmas. My prayer has been that we're able to separate this weekend--to separate from the sad, I mean, and to celebrate all of the HAPPY. Maybe this is too high of an expectation. Maybe not.

What will you all do for Christmas this year?




  1. My parents also divorced when I was older and it's been an... awkward transition. I hope you can figure out what traditions are worth holding onto and that you can still celebrate.

  2. Thank you, Kim! Awkward indeed. Merry Christmas to you!

  3. great post, brett. thank you for sharing. praying for a calm & peaceful Christmas getaway and that there would be many new sweet memories.

    question: is that baby squishy?

  4. It's hard to do holidays once something has changed for the worse. A friend of mine passed away this summer and it's bizarre and sad to be home this weekend, when just last year we were all getting together with our families for a Christmas party.

    It's hard to remember sometimes that there's still so much to be thankful for.

  5. i pray you have such a wonderful christmas. with happy. see you soon!

  6. Thanks so much for writing this, Brett. My dad passed away this year and I really appreciate your words about the confusion of loss during the joyful time of Christmas.

  7. ..nice letter..hope your happy this new year..