What I learned this Christmas

If you came here looking for some feel-good, happy memories of our Christmas weekend, now is your time to move on to another blog.  There's  your warning!
Here's what I learned this Christmas:

~  Our boys are growing up and becoming independent with their own ideas about things...just as we brought them up to do.  And I need to get used to it and move on.

~  Even though they may not admit it right now, the boys do care about traditions.  When I called everybody to the table on Christmas Eve for pizza, MS said, "Is this our Christmas Eve Dinner?"  Ummmm....yes.  Yes it is.  OS even made the comment that he couldn't believe we didn't have a Christmas Tree up.  (Well, technically we
one up, but I took it down on the 23rd for a private reason.)  MS also asked about the candy that I usually make.  I made one batch of Tx. Millionaires for our next door neighbors (who supply me with pecans!), a small batch of Chocolate Covered Cherries for YS, and a batch of Red Velvet Truffles (for YS and our neighbors).

~  The Chocolate Covered Cherries were different than I usually make.  My usual recipe calls for powered fondant, and I didn't have any.  I didn't feel like driving up to the north part of the big city just for a bag of it, so I looked for a different recipe.  I ended up mixing up a couple of different recipes (See, Candace, I can do it!).  For the filling, I used 1 cup of powered sugar, and an even mix of Bailey's and the juice from the jar of cherries.  Excellent!  There was some left over, which will be great over vanilla ice cream or pound cake. 

~  We were hoping to go to the Keys for a vacation...one last family vacation before OS graduates and (hopefully) gets a job.  Turns out none of them wanted to go, even though they had plenty of opportunities to tell us in the past few weeks.  Instead of a vacation, OS went back to the mountain to hopefully make some money at his new job as a ski/snowboard instructor, MS wants to visit friends for New Years in another state, and YS is just happy being a homebody.

~  Babies and Midnight Mass don't go together.  Not when there were 4 other masses that they could've gone to.  I'm all for tradition, but we never went to Midnight Mass when the boys were small.  It would've been different if the parents of the crying babies had taken them out at the first peep, but they didn't.  The Mass was beautiful, the church was gorgeous, the music was great.  It would've been perfect if it hadn't been for those crying babies!  (Yes, I realize that Jesus was a baby, and the season is all about him, but His parents didn't have the choice of 4 other masses!)

~One good thing came out of the weekend:  OS & I had a good heart-to-heart talk on Christmas.  I am proud of the man he's becoming.  His dreams aren't what I would have expected from him when he was little, but he knows what he wants and is going after it.  He had a really good semester in school, grade-wise; only 1 more to go!  I'm envious of him:  He has the confidence in himself to want to move out west by himself (or possibly with a friend...I'm not sure if he's planning on going with someone or not), get a job, and live out there.  I don't know if I could've ever even thought about doing that when I was his age.

~  Next year I'll go back to decorating the house, and will fix a Christmas Eve dinner.  We may not all be able to be together next year, but the boys are growing up and becoming independent...just as we raised them to be.  And I need to get over it and move on.


  1. Learning that our kid(s) grow up and become adult(s) ... and getting over that and moving on is a very hard lesson to learn. {{hug}}

  2. Yay, Mary! This was a wonderful post that I enjoyed greatly. Thanks for sharing it with us. I love how you mixed it up this year. The cherries sound fantastic. I wish you all the best in 2012. hugs, Candace

  3. I've found that life changes with the addition of husbands and boyfriends -- and even grandchildren. We've dropped some traditions, add some new -- and enjoy it as as it comes. Like you I've learned to get over it and move on. It gets easier.

  4. I loved this post! It's hard to see our children grow up and become their own person with their own set of expectations - and yet that's also what we want! Weird, isn't it?

    I completely agree about midnight mass and babies. I always took my children - up until they became preteens and teens - to the early "family" service. It's not even that is distracting for others; those babies should be home in bed and getting good night's sleep!

    I loved your story about the pizza. Several years ago I decided to order pizza for Christmas Eve dinner, rather than make a big meal, since I wasn't feeling well.. My kids loved it! Now, every year, they ask if we're going to order our "traditional" Christmas Eve pizza. That's one tradition I can embrace whole-heartedly!

  5. I think it's hard to let go of our ideas of a 'perfect Christmas'...daughter1 is on her way back to the big city tonite since she has to work tomorrow and it feels like she just got here! Boo. It helps me to remember what I was like at that age...so ready to get on with making my life happen. Your kids are independent and that is an excellent thing! Hang on to that...there are so many who are not and I think that's sad.

    I think you should do the things at the holidays that make them feel special to you. I'm sure you'll have grandchildren to spoil one day : )

  6. ((HUGS)) Your in my thoughts and prayers. It will all be fine but things change and new traditions start.

  7. I am so sorry that all these changes hit you at one time.
    It can be disheartening.....we all know your family is full of love AND energy. I am bracing myself for those days when the girls have distractions outside the house. (boo hoo!)
    Perhaps the boys will help you more next year so they can have all the 'goodies'?
    I told my girls this week in a moment of frustration: "Christmas DOES NOT just happen!!!...I have to work at it!"
    Of course, they looked at me like I had 3 heads. Cause I do.
    Hoping your New Year will be wonderful!
    Thank you for your friendship!

  8. Dear Mary, sending you a big hug and still wishing you Christmas joy!

  9. If you learn the secret about getting over it and moving on, share. Because it's been three years since our youngest headed out to college and I have neither gotten over it nor moved on!

  10. We didn't partake in all the traditions that we usually do this year either. It was hard for me to not do some of the things we have always done. But I was able to appreciate the new and different this year and cherish the time we had together as a family, even if a few little traditional details were missing. It is wonderful for you to see the men you have been raising emerge. Good job!

  11. well, I kept reading, since my Christmas was not exactly picture-perfect, either. Feelings were hurt, things were said, tempers (mine being one of them) flared. But, like you said, we get over it and move on. Merry Christmas!

  12. Christmas without your kids there is a real bummer but that's what happens when they get out on their own. The phone is always there so at least you can talk to them.

  13. Oh, Mary...you are like my trailblazer! I read this post twice and appreciated the honesty so much! The challenges of being a mom of soon to be men is tougher than I thought and as much as I hate that you have had some bumps, it does help me to know I am not alone. I really appreciate you sharing! Thank you!

  14. I love the way you're keeping it real. It can be painful, but growth and adjustment always is. Go you. Do things the way YOU want! Hugs!

  15. (((Hugs))) Parenthood, especially motherhood, is so often not easy, isn't it?


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