In which, Spirit

Last year's tree

I’m going to bring something up here, and Thomas is going to roll his eyes at me.  I’m pretty confident that he will roll his eyes, because it’s something I bring up every day, and without fail it prompts the same reaction – that is, eye-rolling.

I’m sure I’ve dropped hints about this here before, because as it turns out I’m physically incapable of restricting my comments on this subject.  In fact I’ve taken stands on it, declared “I will no longer mention this,” and Thomas has smiled sweetly at me, and the next day I have promptly crumbled.

The thing is, I want babies.  And this is what I say to my poor husband daily.  “Thomas, guess what? I want babies.”  Cue eye-roll.  You may join him if you like.  I am completely immune to it.  I am immune because I have a giant Big Ben of a biological clock stomping around in my head that has hammered out any ability I might have had at one time for reason.

On one side of my brain I know with perfect clarity that it is not reasonable to start planning a family right now.  Not reasonable because we are three million miles away from the people we want around us when we do; not reasonable because we live in an apartment with an insane and insanely time-consuming dog; not reasonable because by a lot of current standards we’re still pretty young to be thinking about it.

The other side of my brain does not care for reason.  And unfortunately that side seems to be dominant.  It drowns out the other side going “LA-LA-LA-BABIES!!”  And to be quite honest with you, it does this to the point of terrifying even me.  There is no way to turn it off, and really this worries me, and it’s not so much fun.

I imagine it’s even less fun for Thomas, who has no such clock, or brain dysfunction, and has to put up with mine.  For the most part I think he tries to stay away from the topic of kids (although he assures me weekly that yes, he does want them, and yes, he does look forward to it, and yes, it won’t be too much longer, please can we talk about something else), and who can blame him?

Even so, the subject invariably does come up (surprise!), and as a result we’ve had long discussions about the ways in which we plan to raise our children.

Thomas's stocking

We’re not going to Ontario for Christmas this year – the first time we haven’t since we moved to BC three years ago.  All the travel and plane rides and puppy-sitting we’ve organized in the past year have left us a little road weary, not to mention being a little short on available vacation days.  Our families have graciously agreed to come and visit us this year, throughout the season, but for Christmas itself, Thomas and I will be on our own.

This has led to a lot of brainstorming about what traditions we should establish for our own Christmas celebrations, and one day recently, much to my delight, Thomas brought up the issue of Santa Claus, and what did I think we should tell our kids?  He’s worried, he tells me, that we as a couple have a tendency to celebrate things in a much more understated way than other people, and that we might not make enough of a big deal about Christmas and Santa.

I have to say, of all the eagerness I experience on the subject of our children, I am possibly most eager to have Christmas with them.  The idea of having little kids around at Christmas – I can’t think of a better way to make the holidays… well, better.  The excitement on Christmas morning, the toys, the tree decorating, the cookies, Christmas movies, letters to Santa… I imagine everything being viewed through a completely different lens with kids around.

Alexis's Stocking

The question about Santa led us into a bigger conversation about explaining Christmas in general.  Neither of us is religious, and yet we still celebrate Christmas.  For us, Christmas is not about the birth of Christ, or any biblical traditions.  It’s not denoting any specific event, or occasion; and it’s not, we must admit, particularly about the gifts.  A lot of the Christmas traditions we observe are, I suppose, founded on an expected set of behaviours.  At the base of it, we decorate, we cook, we buy presents, we listen to music, simply because that is what you do at Christmas. But that seems to us, a little too basic; and being too basic, a little on the empty side.

So what, we asked ourselves, are we celebrating? And how do we want to celebrate it?  These are, I think, important questions to ask yourself, even if you do have the doctrines of your religion to guide you in some part.  Equally, I think it’s important to have answers to them that satisfy your own personal beliefs, and that give some shape to the Spirit that you want to pass along to others.

Both Thomas and I have very fond, definite memories of how Christmas was celebrated in our homes when we were kids.  We are each blessed with beautiful families who put an extraordinary amount of effort into making sure Christmas was special for the kids. We found that in articulating those memories – not only of the facts of the traditions but also the feeling conveyed with them – we already had answers to our questions.  Even so, it was well worth the contemplation.

This year, with more deliberate awareness than before, we are celebrating our families and friends by gathering with them (in mind if not in body); we are celebrating our good fortune through acts of generosity (of spirit as well as material); and we are celebrating our home (both immediate and planetary) with symbols of our gratitude.

What will you be celebrating?

Christmas crown

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  1. By Bob on July 29, 2014 at 5:12 am

    staley@stiff.uncertainly” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñïàñèáî!!…

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