"Time stands still best in moments that look suspiciously like ordinary life."
Well, Thanksgiving has come and gone and we are less than one month from Christmas. I was starting to think my trip to Vegas had put a damper on my holiday cheer, as it was a bit of a whirlwind being out of the state and away from Cruz, our home, and my job longer than normal, but, this wonderful little weekend at home proved to be just what I needed to fall full-fledged into this season of open fires and marshmallows and carpet picnics and baby mangers and Bing Crosby and ornaments and Charlie Brown trees and Holiday Hooplas and cocoa and shopping and mittens and...
Well, I could go on forever.
I love Thanksgiving for many reasons --- the turkey, the stuffing, the pie, the football, the napping, the leftovers...but I think there are things about this quiet little prequel to Christmas I love even more than the food itself.
I love this long weekend for its tradition. For the last couple of years, we have stuck to a similar plan for our special days at home --- an opportunity to ready our home for the Christmas season, practice cozy comforts of the season of hibernation, and soak up an opportunity to slow down and truly 'live in' our home. Too often it seems our home gets taken for granted. It is a place that provides necessary shelter and warmth, yet we come and go as we please without taking time to truly appreciate its uniqueness and live in its comfort with keen awareness. Every home is a testament of one's story, a backdrop to the fabric of family, a dwelling place.
Our house was 'lived in' this weekend. Whether it was a family-style breakfast in our pajamas, dancing around the Christmas tree to Feliz Navidad, or curling up in a pile watching movies in front of our first fire, we seemed to use every inch of our space and soak up its comfort and quiet familiarity. And while our very lived-in space didn't quite resemble the Martha Stewart inspired Thanksgiving spread I saw on The Today Show, I oftentimes stopped myself this weekend to remember that this year, this holiday season, this very 'lived-in', slightly messy house, is our snapshot into this season of our life. It's real, its raw, and its not always pretty, but its uniquely ours and so, so precious because it can't ever be replicated in the same way.
A holiday season doesn't approach without me thinking about years past, especially the last two with Cruz. I think back to the first two months of his life, still on maternity leave, spending afternoons at the mall Christmas shopping with this little bundle in a stroller and spending nights curled up on the couch, watching movies and snuggling this blessing, and feeling so overjoyed with love. I think back to last year, a little boy just beginning to walk, pulling at Christmas tree branches and standing on ornament boxes, not quite understanding the meaning of it all but relishing in the happiness and togetherness and warmth of being home. As I think back to those memories, I have such a mix of bittersweet emotions - sad that they have passed, but so excited about what's in store for our future. The days seems so fleeting sometimes.
I think that's why I'm a lover of traditions. Traditions provide a comforting sense of sameness to this fleeting life --- something to hold on to while the rest of the puzzle changes as we age and grow and explore new places and new territories. These traditions become mile markers in our histories, and like an old symbol of home or an uncovered family memento, these traditions are always welcomed with a sense of comfort, anticipation, and excitement.
Our home was 'lived in' this weekend.
It was lived-in with a Thanksgiving breakfast tradition. Homemade cinnamon rolls, a cup or two of joe, and Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
It was lived-in with a very special tree trimming, uncovering our favorite ornaments from our childhoods, our first few years together, and our first special Christmas with Cruz. Cruz was excited about the boxes of breakable ornaments, but was more content standing on the end table beside the tree and shaking his booty to the Christmas music that played while we trimmed.
It was lived-in with hot cocoa stirred with candy canes, peppermint marshmallows, and our first fire of the season.
It was lived-in with my favorite garland on the mantle and three stockings on the staircase.
It was lived-in during a Saturday night movie night, camping out under the Christmas tree watching Arthur Christmas with our own little elf nestled in between us.
It was lived-in with late nights, lazy mornings, breakfasts in bed, and that welcomed feeling of not setting an alarm until Monday.
It was lived-in during quiet afternoons, sometimes napping, sometimes wrapping (think bows, not Jay-Z), and sometimes just being still. Reading books, writing Christmas lists, or admiring how nice the house looks with its Christmas sweater on.
It's growing colder outside, and it seems every morning I'm finding new layers to add to Cruz before we head out the door for another day. And while a part of me misses those warm afternoons at the park or the pool, the season of hibernation is upon us and I'm ready to dwell in the comforts of our home.