You may have noticed (and those of you who follow me on Twitter definitely noticed) that two weeks ago, when Lisa’s fantastic post on baby family traditions prompted a long thread about managing Christmas as a baby family… I stayed out of it. And I never stay out of it.
Why? Well. It turns out when you’re part of a bigger interfaith family and a Jewish baby family, and you chose to give up Christmas almost all together, when it happened to be your life-long favorite holiday… hearing people talk about navigating two Christmas’s does not bring out the best in you. In fact, it might throw you face down into a pile of pillows where you pillow-face-yell, “Well at least you still HAVE Christmas, and TWO Christmas’s at that, and HOW HARD CAN THAT BE?” And of course, while the answer to the question you just asked your pillow is really, “It can be quite hard.” That maybe does not quite soothe you, at this hard part of the year.
But. I actually didn’t want to talk about Christmas. Or how the holidays can be hard. What I did want to talk about was how the holidays can be rewarding, as a baby family. Or as a maybe not so baby family anymore.
You see, since we got married, I’ve wanted nothing more than to have holidays in our own house. Us. Maybe just us two, maybe us and family, but us hosting. But it’s been hard. David has an enormous family in LA, I have a very sick mother in LA. Add those things together and you have a lot of trips to Southern California, with me grumbling that if we just had a d*mn baby, we’d have an excuse to stay home (Because that’s why you have a baby right? Sigh). And, well, we always have fun, but it’s not quite the same as having our first holidays as Our Family.
Thanksgiving was shaping up to be a normal holiday for us. The car was full of gas, the suitcases were pulled out. And then Wednesday morning I woke up sick. Had to go to the doctor for antibiotics sick. Couldn’t travel sick.
So. This year, we had our first big holiday together, just the two of us. And you know what it was like? It was like our New Years Days, actually (which has become our adopted baby family holiday, since no one cares about it much). It was a total lack of action. It was a lack of tradition. It was a complete shabbat.
We woke up. We sleepily read the paper. We took a walk through our holiday-stilled neighborhood, to the beach. David made dinner… whatever we felt like dinner. And then we did nothing some more. Perfect.
You see, as an interfaith couple, and as a couple in the midst of blending families, we have a lot of tradition to deal with. We have Christmas to mostly give up (or learn to deal with on a 24-hours-visitor basis). We have Hebrew to learn. We have places we have to be, so our families will be happy. We have things we need to do, so tradition is met. We’ve got travel.
And it turns out? What I really want? Is not so much. I want a walk to the beach with my husband. I want some time to write in my journal and nap. And that’s it. I’ll take what food I’m given, and I’ll take as few traditions as I can get.
But man, do I like to be home. Really, truly, home.
Picture: Our beach on Thanksgiving, taken by me on my Fuji Instax