I woke up to the smell of burnt toast. Either I am having a stroke or someone left the bread in to long. I roll over to check the time… 8:30 AM. According to my standards, that is not sleeping in but that is all I can muster until the stresses leave my head. Two more days, maybe three. The stress of life, work, school, friends and family weigh heavy on me. It is like I am the mom of everything. I have to admit, it is easier this year. I have simplified, used honesty in a way that leaves nothing for assumptions to be misconstrued. I don’t have all my ducks in a row yet, but that is coming. Things are better than I had hoped for but not quite as fabulous as I wished for.
I finish reading Room by Emma Donoghue. It was compelling. All from the perspective of a 5 year old. As an educator of preschoolers, it made me think about them from an interesting perspective. But now it’s done and I need more books. I have a huge list for download, but I need to wait until after Christmas.
I roll out of bed because my tummy is rumbling. I ignore it to hop into the shower and indulge in the fancy soaps. It is Christmas Eve and the family festivities begin tonight.
As a kid I remember driving down from Yellowknife with dad trying to keep the Blizzard on our tail. We planned to sleep in Peace River, but Mom was worried we would be stuck there for Christmas Morning. So we kept moving. My brother (4) and I (6) were dressed in our jammies for the very long drive to Edmonton. We were armed with pillows, blankets and teddies. I remember the dark, but that is nothing new I lived in the Arctic. It was always dark, not really knowing the time by the light of the sun unless it was noon. Looking out the window as we drove, I saw swirling snow and dark. These were the days before electronics in the car. Mom couldn’t read to us because a flashlight would bother dad. So we slept.
When we woke up it was still dark. But I remembered Granny’s house! It was just like I remembered from a 100 years ago or summertime, both were a long way away. Mom tried the side door, Grandpa left it open for us. We snuck in quietly, but not quietly enough I guess. In the living room we turned on the Christmas lights, placed gifts under the tree and waited. Granny came into the living room and there we were under the tree for her Christmas present. Her face was happy and so was mom’s. Somehow we went back to sleep to wait for Christmas Eve to come.
I reflect on traditions of my past and tried to incorporate the ones I loved into my Christmas present. Christmas Eve dinner use to be Chinese food out, but now it is at my brother’s house. I like that better. Opening one gift on Christmas Eve use to mean lunch with my dad’s parents and my beloved Gram, but that changed too. Now my kids get to open their gift from their brother who lives in Australia. They like that better. Opening stockings first, while dad had breakfast. We still open stockings first, while mom (me) makes her coffee. I like that better. Then opening gifts, one at a time to stretch out Christmas and share in what each other received. I liked that best and so does my son. The same tradition continues. Dinner no longer is at my Granny’s, it moved to my mom’s and now my sister and I take turns. I like it better at her house and she likes it better at mine.
The feeling is the same. Warm and comfortable, wishing others could join us but knowing they are far away and can’t. Memories of them will have to do.
As I look out my kitchen window to the small snow piles and warm air outside, I am thankful the weather is nicer than last year. I think about Christmas at Walt Disney World and loved swimming outside on New Years Eve. I love the dark at Christmas. It makes the lights shine and the ice sparkle. For the first time in years I found the Christmas Spirit. I realize I am not the old me, but the new and improved me. The Edmonton Tourist Tradition continues…
Merry Christmas to all my friends and family who celebrate, and best wishes for all of you who don’t.
Love The Edmonton Tourist aka Robyn
- Christmas Decorations and Traditions (awindowintomyworld.wordpress.com)
- 3 things I love about Christmas (besides the presents) (nosowildchild.wordpress.com)
- Christmas in Italy (maizebread.wordpress.com)