Monday, December 9, 2013

I Don't Know How Many Days Until Christmas by Melinda Curtis

I admit.  I used to be the woman you hate.  I made my Christmas list in July.  I started my holiday shopping in August and finished on Black Friday, while my husband put up our outdoor lights.  Oh, and since I host our Thanksgiving, I'd have my husband put up our artificial tree (the kind pre-strung with lights) on Thanksgiving morning.

Anyway, for some reason, we're in a funk here this year.  It's December 9th and we have no lights, no tree, not a Who singing in Who-ville.  I could blame it on my 88-year old mother breaking her ankle recently, because I loaded what seemed like my entire kitchen to cook in Mom's house on Thanksgiving this year.  Or I could blame it on our daughter, who flew home from college the night before Thanksgiving, but needed us to drive her 9 hours back to college on Black Friday to move her into her new place.  But most likely it's that I've been busier than usual with an unexpected spate of activities and a gaggle of new friends I'm trying to keep up with, in addition to my comfy, regular crowd. In short, I've had a life refocusing on me and my husband.

This January, Mr. Curtis and I will once more be empty nesters, as the last of our three children
returns to college (yes, we have 3 in college at the same time - was that bad planning or what?).  It seems odd, very much like a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree - sparse and lacking energy, but ready to be filled with beloved ornaments and tinsel. 

And so, as I try to make lists and check them twice, as I collect the pre-requisite store coupons and read Daily Deals in my inbox, I find myself longing for the raucous laughter of the neighborhood kids, the long hours spent in my camp chair watching soccer games or sitting on the bleachers.  Those were the days when every minute was packed and precious.  I have Bandaids in the bathroom that are yellowing with age and water-stained copies of children's books, like Green Eggs & Ham and Where the Wild Things Are, collecting dust.  And I have minutes to myself, books to read, a husband to love, a holiday to plan...and yet, I haven't planned or read books or sat down with a glass of wine.

And so this weekend, I decided to make a new tradition - one filled with love and excitement!  When my kids come home on December 21, we'll be heading out to shop together and coming home to decorate together.  We may even buy a real tree! 

Every transition can use a new twist on tradition.  I think I've found mine.  So I don't care how many days are left until Christmas.  I'm counting down to the 21st (12 more days if you don't count today).  What's your twist on the Christmas Countdown?

Enjoy the multigenerational family stories of Harmony Valley by Melinda Curtis.
Dandelion Wishes (Book1, out now), Summer Kisses (Book2, Feb2014), Season of Change (Book3, May2014)


14 comments:

  1. That sounds like a great new tradition :) And I'll be thinking of my own next year when I'm an empty nester as well, Melinda. I'm worried for the change, but I know it's just the next step in life. I would wish back every year of Danielle's childhood, but that would mean she would grow up and I have to focus on that, and be happy that, like you, I've done my job in sending a wonderful adult out into the world :) Have a wonderful Christmas, Melinda :)

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    1. Thanks, Karen. The first one was the hardest to let go.

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  2. Mel, I'm actually happy to see someone else is as behind as I feel like I am this year. I, too, used to shop and tuck away neat gifts all year, have them wrapped and sent off early. This year I resorted to sending nephew's families gift boxes from the nut farm. My kids and grands are getting more gift cards and less thought-out presents. I haven't shopped for my sister who is in town, or my sister-in-law and husband, who are coming to visit in a week. I'm just behind for no reason that I can claim except poor planning, or maybe the fact there's been so much negative news in papers and on TV that it affects my enthusiasm. Hopefully it will return. Mel, I know you'll have fun with your new tradition.

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    1. Thanks, Roz. Maybe, as you point out, it is a societal thing as well.

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  3. I am so behind. Why work on my list when I can watch football? Arizona won again!

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    1. Marion, so happy for Coach Bruce! He deserved his time in the sun.

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  4. Mel - buy new band-aids and tuck those books safely away because, before you know it, you'll have grandchildren! Christmas will be even more magical then than you can imagine. Meanwhile, I think your plan to make the kids help you shop and decorate the tree sounds warm and inspired. I just got proofs in my in-box this morning, so you know what happens to my countdown! Have a wonderful, wonderful time with your family. Sounds as though you take good care of all of them.

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  5. Sounds like a great new tradition, Mel! I hope your mother heals quickly and you have a wonderful family gathering.

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    1. Thanks, Rula! She's had a tough time these past few months - broken wrist, then a broken ankle. When you're already limited by a walker, mobility becomes a challenge with those fragile bones.

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  6. I like the sound of the new tradition! The newly empty nest was a tough time for me, but I've learned to enjoy it.

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  7. Is it wrong that I'm glad you have joined the rest of us in our procrastination? I am never done shopping and preparing until the very last minute! I am in the thick of all the madness with kids and a million activities and although I often think I can't wait until I have some "alone" time, I know I will miss it when that time comes. When your kids are young, the days are long but the years go by so very fast. Hope you enjoy your time even if it starts Dec. 21 instead of in July!

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  8. I just need a day off to do everything. Unfortunately, my day off comes not when I need it most but when I have to rush.

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  9. Pamela, I hear ya on needing a day off to get things done! We haven't put up decorations, or addressed Christmas cards, or started our holiday baking. Two weeks left, and the to do list is longer than my next manuscript! LOL

    Enjoy December 21st!

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