Wednesday, April 11, 2012

There Has Been a Change of Plans

Hubby likes to make fun of my side of the family because we are a family who likes to celebrate.  We will throw a party for anything and everything.  A birthday does not go by without a family dinner.  A holiday does not escape a party.  If you do something great, like get a new job, have a baby, whatever, we throw a party.  Holidays are not just a two hour commitment.  If it's Easter weekend, we don't just have a meal and call it good.  We hang out the entire weekend.  So holidays and birthdays have always been a really big deal to me.

The week before Christmas, I kept my family home.  I didn't let my kids have play dates, we skipped the library, I did my best to keep my family away from any germs that would prevent us from joining in the Christmas festivities.  I thought we had escaped the winter cooties.  We went out for dinner on Christmas Eve with my family and all was well.  We rushed home to pick up our presents before going to my inlaws' house for their family Christmas.  As we were walking in the door, Joy threw up.  And since it was Hubby's family party, I offered to stay home with the sick kid.  The next day I was feeling a little icky so we had to cancel plans with my side of the family and stay home.  We ended up having a good day, it's the first time ever that we've celebrated a holiday with just our immediate family.  But it was different.

Enter Easter.  We spent Saturday with my side of the family, visited the Butterfly House, had a family dinner.  But our plan for Easter day was to have lunch at my inlaws' house and also celebrate my father-in-law's birthday.  My kids did have runny noses all week, but I figured it was due to allergies since the pollen has been flying.  Sunday morning I made a nice breakfast and the kids had an Easter Egg scavenger hunt.  When it was time to leave for the party, I found David asleep on the couch.  When I went to wake him up, I felt his forehead and he definitely had a fever.  So once again I volunteered to stay home since the party was Hubby's side of the family.  Once again I missed the fun.

The Never Photogenic Family Picture
 After missing the second holiday in a row, a girl can't help but start to wonder if there is some lesson God is trying to teach me.  I got to thinking about what holidays used to be like when I was a child.  We almost always went to my Grandparents' house in Chicago.  My Grandma did it up big--great food, candy, presents, outings, the whole nine yards.  Holidays were a grand event and I loved it!

Things started to change when I got married and had to split holidays between two families.  Then Grandma moved and lives right down the street from me so there aren't weekend visits to her house in Chicago.  While we still have fun, it's not the same.  Add in a Hubby who is not that into family parties and all my childhood expectations have pretty much been thrown out the window.

And now God wanted to take it one step further.  I had already let go of the weekend-long family party.  Now I think that God wants me to let go of the party period.  To start my own family traditions and not rely on my mom or mother-in-law to make all the fun.  This past year, we did a Jesse Tree with daily scripture readings and an Advent chain with the names of Jesus leading up to Christmas.  For Easter we did a Lenten series of scripture readings that went through the life of Christ along with the Resurrection Eggs that Joy brought home from preschool.  I've already been paring down the consumerism of our family holidays big time--less presents, less candy--and have shifted the focus onto where it should be.  Jesus.  This year we took the time to keep the focus on the reason for the parties--the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Lizzy reading the scripture for the next clue on the Easter egg scavenger hunt
Of course we will still be attending family parties, but I will be holding them more loosely in my hand.  My own family traditions will be the bulk of the fun and the big family parties will just be the icing on the cake instead of being the entire cake.

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