This post: Christmas Then and Now: I Miss the Past, But the “Here and Now” is Even Better
Written By: Morgan Hill
My teens were out with their friends, the fire was gently crackling in the fireplace and there I sat, with my cup of hot tea in hand, in a quiet house reminiscing about the (utterly exhausting but wonderful) chaos of Christmases past.
I thought about the sheer never-ending busyness of the season, the excitement in my kids’ eyes, and the sheer bursting enthusiasm in their voices as they counted down the days until Santa arrived. I thought about how hard I tried to make those fleeting days special and magical. I thought about how much I missed Christmas mornings when my kids raced down the stairs to see if Santa had filled their stockings, if he’d eaten the cookies they left out for him, and whether they got that one special toy they asked for.
I thought about it all and my heart sank a little as I sat in the painfully quiet of my living room.
Christmas Then and Now:
Sure, I Miss the Past, But the “Here and Now” is Even Better
But then I started thinking about my kids today and the relationship we have. How they helped me with the decorating, how much fun we had baking together, how we shopped ’til we dropped and even stopped for lunch at their favorite restaurant. I thought about how much we love watching those classic Christmas movies they grew up with and how much they appreciate every little gift they receive knowing full well that times are tough and money is tight.
And, I realized that even though I miss the past, I sure do love the “now.” And, I wouldn’t trade it for anything…
When my kids were young, I relished looking at Christmas through their innocent eyes. I loved special moments like reading them “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve and having them believe every word. And, as chaotic and unpredictable as it was, I long for those days when I took them to the mall to sit on Santa’s lap (even though they cried most years when they were really young).
I miss when my kids wrote letters to Santa with their uneven, backward letters and crazy gift requests. (Like the year my son wanted a real sports car for Christmas.)
Oh, and I especially miss the chaos of Christmas morning with wrapping paper, ribbons, and bows covering the living room floor and when my kids played with their toys until they were so tired they could barely stand up.
Sure, life is different now that my kids are older. But it’s better in so many ways.
Bittersweet But STILL So Sweet
It’s bittersweet to think about those precious days when our kids were young, but this time with our kids is just as magical – perhaps even more so. For the first time, they truly understand and appreciate the true meaning of Christmas, how much work you put into making memories for them, and… get this? When they buy you gifts, it becomes clear they know you and what you love! And, that’s so cool!
Much More Appreciation and Gratefulness
They’re older. They’re up to date on the news, and happenings around the world and they hear you sigh when you open another bill. They get it.
They know so much more about life, and the struggles you face raising a family and they show so much more appreciation and gratefulness when they open their gifts or you go out of your way to create a special memory for them. Now, that’s magic.
Special Low-Key Bonding Time
The beauty of having teens is that they don’t need (or want) to be entertained 24/7. Hanging out watching a movie (you know, the more adult-like movies you could never watch when your kids were young), making a midnight snack together, grabbing lunch, or just hanging out not doing much of anything make for memorable times with your teen.
A Tad More Help
Yeah… they can be hard to nail down when you need a little help, but more often than not, with a little coercing (and maybe a bit of bribing) they’re willing to help you put the lights up outside or drag the Christmas tree up from the basement. And, no more dragging out the ladder to put the star (or angel) on the tree – your taller-than-you teen can reach it without even trying.
Relishing Old Traditions and Creating New Ones, Too
Your kids’ favorite traditions like hopping in the car to look at neighborhood Christmas lights (although now they drive instead of you!) and making chocolate chip cookies together may never fade, but other traditions sure have. Still, when your kids get older, you create new memories that pique their interest and bring a smile to their faces – some of which THEY come up with. And, that makes them even more special.
A More Relaxed Vibe in the House
You know those frenzied days when the kids were young? Now you actually have a little time for yourself to breathe and take in the beauty of the season… a glass of wine, eggnog, or a hot cup of tea, a cozy night on the couch watching a Hallmark movie, or maybe just a relaxed shopping day without the angst of having to get home at a certain time. You really can’t deny that those perks are worth mentioning!
Oh, moms and dads… I know you might be missing those days of Christmases past, but this new season of parenting our big kids is JUST as special and magical and memorable. Look around, take it all in, relish in the here and now… because it’s truly even better than before.
About Morgan Hill:
Morgan Hill is an essayist and humorist. She has written for many online and print publications including Insider, Your Teen Magazine, Revel, and MASK Magazine. She is the mother of freshman and senior sons in high school. When not writing, she can be found at flea markets, in her garden, photographing architecture, taking cooking classes, or eating the stinkiest cheese she can find. You can also find her on Twitter @MorganHWrites or Instagram @MorganHillWriter