Our First Christmas as Mr. & Mrs.
As I sit here, reflecting on Christmas and all the joy it brings, I feel a bit saddened that it has passed so quickly as it always seems to do. In the weeks and days leading up to Christmas, there is a feeling in my heart that I strive to hold onto for as long as possible as the holiday season passes me by. I love everything about the Christmas season: the décor, the music, the lights, the parties, the food, etc. However, the thing I love most will always be the time I get to spend with family.
Growing up, my grandparents hosted Christmas…until they moved away a few years ago. There were so many traditions and so many memories tied into Christmas at Mimi and Bapoo’s; those memories hold such a significant place in my heart. However, new traditions have fallen into place without ever skipping a beat; my parents host Christmas Eve and my aunt and uncle host Christmas Day. It’s interesting how traditions evolve as time passes and life changes. No matter where we gather, the important thing is that we come together as a family.
Now that you know a little bit about what Christmas means to me, I’d like to share some of the highlights from this Christmas with you!
Christmas Eve, hosted at my parent’s house, was special this year. My nephew, Ethan, is at such a fun age and was a social butterfly with his sister, Zoey, aiding in his confidence and silliness. The party is huge in that it consists of my dad’s family and my stepmother’s family. My dad cooks for everyone and it is delicious! He also gives a speech each year that highlights the happenings of the past year and the things we are looking forward to in the year to come. The speech is followed by us holding hands and saying grace (just like at Mimi & Bapoo’s). This year was extra special because my in-laws (divorced) each joined. I cannot stress enough how hard it is on kids of separated homes to make sure they see each parent on a holiday, especially when each partner’s parents are divorced. Being able to gather in one place makes the day much more enjoyable. I truly enjoyed having everyone together Christmas Eve. After the party Nick and I drove home, put on our matching pajamas (our new Christmas tradition) and set out each other’s stocking for the morning. The excitement of us sharing our first Christmas as husband and wife felt amazing!
If you don’t already know, I am a nurse (in a hospital) and have to work alternating holidays. This year was my year to work Christmas and I was so blessed to have a co-worker offer to work the morning half of my shift for me so that I could watch my niece and nephew open Christmas gifts. I was even more blessed to get canceled and not have to go in at all…a Christmas miracle (in my opinion). Nick and I woke up very early to do Christmas with each other and make it to my parent’s in time for breakfast and gifts for the kids. We went in our matching PJs, enjoyed breakfast with all of my siblings and got to witness pure, unadulterated, joy as the kids opened present after present. It was truly amazing. After I found out that I didn’t have to go into work, Nick and I headed back home to change and to feed and walk the dogs. We went to my mother-in-law’s house to do Christmas there and it was really great. After a couple hours, and some plans changing a bit, we headed to my aunt and uncle’s for the last Christmas they would host in their home. This was something I was going to miss out on but was so grateful to be a part of in the end. After dinner, Nick and I headed home and spent our first Christmas as Mr. & Mrs. Fitzgerald cleaning our apartment and preparing for an impromptu visit from Nick’s friend from out of state. We went to bed well after midnight to the sound of Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister. My heart was so full.
We learned a lot this Christmas. We both come from divorced homes and each holiday is more stressful than the next to make sure that we see everyone and please everyone. Meanwhile, we don’t enjoy much of the holiday ourselves because we are constantly picking up to go to the next stop. A few years ago I had 5 Thanksgivings in one day… FIVE! Children of divorce are the ones who suffer; they’re the ones who feel the stress to make sure each parent feels equal around the holidays. I am here to tell you that it is not fair and it is not fun. Let’s all get together in the spirit of the season and for the sake of the children…even the grown children.
Looking toward the future, Nick and I talk about how we want to proceed with holidays as our family grows. One constant that we always come back to is that we do not want to continue to go house to house all day long but we don’t want to spend every holiday alone either. As I have mentioned before, being with family around the holidays and carrying on family traditions is what makes me happy. I guess we will just have to keep talking about it until we form a game plan that allows us to enjoy the holidays with a lot less stress.
All in all, we had a great Christmas and feel truly blessed with the people in our lives. Happy holidays to you and yours!