Holidays: Traditions, Transitions, and Lots of Feelings

Holidays with young kids are exciting. The anticipation of Santa, the lighting of the menorah, and the time away from school are all reasons to jump from the top of the stairs and run around with no clothes on. At least, that is what things are looking like where we are!

However, I can’t help but feel a pang of nostalgia for the way things were, pre-kids, around the holidays. Grandparents and even parents that were around when I was a child are no longer part of the celebrations. “They took a car or maybe a plane to heaven” as Keener likes to remind me. And these little kids are now part of the new holiday traditions as well as in-laws, out-laws and friends that are more like family. Traditions have evolved which isn’t bad, it’s just different.

I read an exquisite article from Cup of Jo that left me sobbing. While maybe ironic to post this article on Christmas, the following excerpt felt poignant as the holidays, for many, elicit a full range emotions:

“Many may disagree, but I have always believed, always, even when I was a precocious little girl crying alone in my bed, that our purpose in this life is to experience everything we possibly can, to understand as much of the human condition as we can squeeze into one lifetime, however long or short that may be. We are here to feel the complex range of emotions that come with being human. And from those experiences, our souls expand and grow and learn and change, and we understand a little more about what it really means to be human. I call it the evolution of the soul. Know that your mother lived an incredible life that was filled with more than her “fair” share of pain and suffering, first with her blindness and then with cancer. And I allowed that pain and suffering to define me, to change me, but for the better.”

During this time of celebration, embrace the complex range of emotions that come with being human. Be kind to yourself. Take that extra deep breath before unloading on your kids. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to model for your kids what it looks like to experience a complex range of emotions.

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