Taking down the Christmas tree today. Yes, January 14th. Both the putting up and taking down for me is so sentimental. All the ornaments holding such lovely memories. Memories, not only of the people who gave them to me, but also of my childhood and Christmas time in my family. It makes me miss my family. My siblings.
Oh, I know there were plenty of times when five kids didn't get along. I remember plenty of those times and have forgotten many more. The times I remember much more, though, are all the wonderful things we did together: The annual Nativity play where we gathered in the basement and put on all sorts of old dress up clothes, becoming angels and shepherds, Mary and Joseph, barely holding our laughs back long enough to get out our lines; the important "comfort zone" where we rounded up any and all blankets and pillows and made a fort in someone's room for all to sleep in; staying up late in the hopes of seeing Santa; decorating the sugar cookies; decorating the tree and arguing about whose turn in was to put baby Jesus in the nativity set. Part of the magic of the season was the traditions we came up with and enjoyed every year, elaborating on them as we went.
Now, as an adult (gulp), I sometimes struggle to find all the magic of Christmas. There could be many reasons for this, all of which I will not go into now. But one of them, I think, is that I'm far from my family and all those yearly traditions. My siblings are so very dear to my heart and so, so much fun to be around now. I miss them throughout the year: when they're gathered together for campfires, Rummy nights, tapping maple trees for sap or going on nature walks to see the glorious colours of a Midwestern fall. But it's at Christmas time that I might miss them the most.
So, as I carefully put things away this year and my mind drifts back to those days we all spent together, my heart is bittersweet. I am so very glad to have had those days, those memories, and my siblings these days even if we are spread out. Maybe sometime we'll go back to Michigan for Christmas. Some of those old traditions have already begun in our family now. And I'm sure our traditions will continue to grow as Fraser, Jacob and I grow as a family. But I know I will always carry the magic of those childhood memories with me.