The holidays are settled on the horizon of the next week as I write this. We plan to spend them quietly here without travel or much break in our normal schedule due to Aaron’s church obligations. We are yet to have a snow that sticks, which makes me skeptical about having a white Christmas. Regardless, we do have the warmth of the light from our Christmas tree against the backdrop of bare, skeletal deciduous trees across the courtyard. It does the trick to bring some seasonal cheer.
Christmas has never been a holiday I particularly looked forward to. It always had a sort of lack luster way of ending each year compared with how it’s advertised in stores and American Girl doll books. I think this is in large part because my family did not have stable traditions surrounding this holiday like we did for some of the others. Perhaps not this year, but in the years to come Aaron and I have sketched out some of the traditions we would like to establish for our nuclear family. It seems that the “magic” lies in the dependability of repeated expectation, rather than the razzle dazzle of yearly spontaneity.
Perhaps that is a good segue for my reflections on the year in general. There have been multiple transitions during 2019–Aaron’s graduation, our summer move, my role as stay-at-home mom. With each transition we’ve tried the establish new, or modify old, schedules and routines, i.e. traditions, for daily living. I just finished a book called Simplicity Parenting which emphasizes the importance of rhythm and routine for helping create a safe space for kids to flourish within the home. While it applies to kids in vital developmental ways, this year has shown me the importance of intentional simplicity for my own mental health. There is comfort in the pillars of shared meal times and naps, rotated casserole menus and the same nightly lullaby to anchor experience when there is an upheaval in other areas of life. Those are superficial examples in some ways, but not completely.
My January entry may contain fuller reflections on the year, but for now I sit thankfully in a warm apartment as my little one naps on, waiting for daddy to come home for dinner. Some mornings over coffee with Aaron, I wonder in awe how we got to this place. Married almost three years, a kid, two Masters degrees, and practical steps in place for our future. I couldn’t imagine this even five years ago. There is much to be thankful for.