With the holidays clearly in sight, I would normally be anxiously awaiting the arrival of our three children and their families in Seattle. In the past, they would join us for at least Thanksgiving or Christmas if not both of the holidays.
However, the older our children become (which unfortunately equates to the older I become) and the farther away they have moved (San Jose, Honolulu and over the mountains and through the woods where our youngest landed), it has become increasingly more difficult to gather them all under one roof.
A number of years ago their dad and I would encourage them to make the trip to Seattle. If they couldn’t because of their own family obligations or budget, we would have to choose which child we would go to and for which holiday. My husband and I travel a lot for our work, so we’d rather stay home but we also have a rhythm for travelling and the option to spend the money.
This year, however, with each of their work schedules combined with air travel price hikes, it looks like Bernie and I will be ‘Home Alone’ this year for the holidays. It’s not as if we didn’t know at some point in time this would indeed happen. We have been empty nesters 8 years. Still, it tugs at the heart and it more than once I feel melancholy about the holidays.
When you have children, you know one day they would all grow up and make their own lives, create families and traditions that they would hold precious. It is a circle isn’t it? What goes around comes around? There is no escaping the fact that nothing lasts forever but that does not mean life is over. I remind myself everyday to keep moving forward not backward.
I’m all about what’s the opportunity? How can this be a positive experience for us without putting guilt on the kids’? Bernie and I thought about it and chose to reflect on all the holidays when it was just the two of us – BK (Before Kids). We would stay up late and sleep in the next morning. The world indeed was our oyster and we made the most of it.
This year, I’ve cut back on some of things that caused stress or extra running around. I like lots and lots of decorations – now I just do lots. I don’t have to plan menus. For Thanksgiving this year it’s dinner for two, maybe some visits with friends and a special workout! I have to admit, it’s a lighter load. We don’t want to do this every year, but a future romantic holiday for two in Paris isn’t out of the question.
My oldest daughter and son are married and we have two wonderful grandchildren from them. Maybe more to come? My youngest daughter is starting her life, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.