Thursday, December 18, 2014


"Big Days are a reminder of what should have been but wasn’t, 
all that was lost, all that will never be..."
   - Jen Hatmaker 

This sums up what events are like in our house these days. We have come so far but the past will never fade away. Grief and pain and loss go so much deeper into the heart and influence days like Christmas.

I love the newest blog post by Jen Hatmaker: parenting-kiddos-who-sabotage-big-days where she explains the struggle with kids from hard places. Shexplains what wounded hearts look like and why they act the way they do. It is a must read not just for adoptive families but kiddos who have also dealt with divorce or loss. Seriously-read it- you may find out you as an adult are also a sabotager!

I am a self proclaimed traditionalist {seriously-just call me Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof}. I LOVE family traditions. Poor Gene when we were married- I told him straight up- we are going to celebrate holidays my way. You can throw a few things in {like football or stuffing} but all of my traditions are staying. Maybe its because we moved so much as a kid and it was just my parents? Maybe I am really a descendant of the real Santa Clause? Maybe I'm just a control freak who hates change- point is I'm a Traditionalist when it comes to holidays.

So last year I too tried to make Christmas the best possible thing imaginable last year.
                                                     It started terribly. 

Christmas eve night he refused to write to Santa (because he hates to write/read around his older siblings who aren't ESL learners). He couldn't understand why he could not eat Santa's cookies and then when we opened our Christmas eve present- you would have thought we killed our dog and wrapped it up for him under the tree. He was mortified! This led to a 30 minute wailing and gnashing of teeth. He hated Christmas and Santa and Jesus. As a self proclaimed traditionalist {seriously-just call me Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof} I could not grasp why. We had talked and role played and went all K Perv! But we didn't really... I expected way to much from my sweet little boy.

 After cuddling and connecting {aka wrestling and tickles} we scooted under the tree and named every single present. We told him what was inside each one. For him, it was all about the unknown. He can't do surprises- its just to scary to hope, to scary to trust.

 We added the explanation of gifts again in the am, a change in tradition and I lowered my own  expectations of the day. Santa didn't get his letter and that was okay. We ate some of his cookies and had popcorn as an alternate. It was okay if we let him eat only rolls and mashed potatoes for Christmas dinner, he was not going to be forever damaged from one day of no veggies. We let him change out of his pj's when he wanted and even did a non-Christmas movie. {I know- that was a hard one!}

We ended well. 


This year- we have already had the No ipod/No tablet/no phone discussion every day as a reminder. And by every day I mean EVERY STINKING MORNING. And you can bet ya, this year we will make cookies and EAT them first. We broke down and had "The Santa Talk".  And yes- this year on Christmas eve we will be lying down under the tree- whispering what each present is to our little guy. He has to know and that's okay.

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