People say the holidays are for children. Of course you can also include the child-like, such as myself. But I have a whole new appreciation of and excitement about the holidays this year, starting with Thanksgiving and going all the way through Christmas. It’s possible that I have never, ever been so excited about the “most wonderful time of the year,” even when my children were small, or even when I was small myself. I’m dancing from grocery shopping, to gift shopping, to decorating, twirling around like the ballerina on a children’s music box.
You see, my children are coming home.
My older son left for graduate school in June, and I have not seen him since, except for Skype. (God bless technology!) The younger one has been home, briefly, but basically left in August and has robustly gone on with his life in Milledgeville for the last four months. We do not raise our children to stay with us; we raise them to go out on their own and make a happy, successful lives for themselves. That does not mean that we don’t miss them when they are gone, or that we do not relish their return with great anticipation when they come home.
I no longer have to stay up all night putting toys together, or making sure batteries work. I do still stuff stockings so they are waiting in the morning for every person in the house. I am still ecstatic over finding the perfect gift for someone and wait for them to open it with the same patience as a child waits to see what Santa brought. But this year, it does not matter that I no longer sneak around, or hide things in the basement, or try out all the toys at Toys R Us before I decide what to buy. This year it is enough that my boys are coming home, and they will be sitting around my Christmas tree on Christmas Day.