Monday, December 30, 2013

Parenthood: Week 31 - A Jolly Holiday With Ollie

This was our first Holiday season with Ollie. In past years, we pretty much followed what our families did for the Holidays. Diana and I tried to carve out some time for each other and would save one Christmas present to open without our families. With this being Ollie's first Christmas we felt that we wanted to take this a step further and really make sure this holiday season meant something to our family. 

When you are a kid, your parent split special occasions between your moms side and your dad's side.  Then when you become married, you as an adult have to negotiate how these two sides work with your spruces families. You can't do four thanksgivings in one day, so you have to compromise. So Diana's father side got together, the Sunday before Christmas, Diana's immediate family spent Christmas Eve together and Diana's mom's side spent Christmas afternoon together.  Then we spend new years with my side and the time we had for ourselves as a family was Christmas morning.

Many of the things that we do surrounding the holidays we do for our children's sake. We want to create an atmosphere of wonder and an element of awe. The problem is that sometimes in the pursuit of fulfilling our own expectations and the expectations we think others set for us, the stress can overshadow the point of holidays.

Ollie doesn't understand what is going on with the decorations, the music and the gifts. As much as he enjoys his toys, there is nothing that makes him happier than when Diana and I are both around. When talking about what Ollie would enjoy the most we realized a lot of the time when we are both home with Ollie we are tag-teaming. I'll be doing the dishes when Diana is putting Ollie to bed or I'll be playing with him while Diana is doing work. So we decided to make a point of spending Christmas morning together with our full attention on each other.

Christmas morning was really nice. While the presents were fun, it was even more special because we spent time together as a family. Knowing that people all around us were doing the same thing made it feel great to share in this tradition of being together for each other.

Ollie's world is his family. He is at the point when he can scoot around on the floor. Often when I'm playing with him, I'll put a couple toys around for him to scoot towards. While he has toys that he really enjoys, often he will scoot toward me or Diana instead of a toy. Ollie is almost always excited to see one us when we come home to him and many times after he wakes up from a nap, he is smiling at us. That's the way it should be for all of us. Unfortunately many families become soured by bitterness, regret and misunderstanding that causes a family to become less of a refuge.

Ollie like other babies remind us where our center should be, where our instincts draw us to to find comfort: our families. When our biological families fail us, we can find other people to be our family to find the comfort we find in our parents when we are younger.  The potential lies deep inside of us to be that comfort for other people. It is up to us to keep this alive in our children and spread it to the people in our lives.

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