Monday, December 24, 2007

A Sanders Family Christmas

The past six years have brought a tremendous amount of change in my family. The root of the changes primarily started with my sisters getting married. My sisters' marriages have altered my family, my life, my time, my thinking, and many other aspects of my life. Their marriages altered the afore mentioned for them as well, but it also altered their priorities. A change in one's priorities can potentially change a great deal of things. A change in my sisters' priorities led to the cessation of Christmas as I had always known it. Admittedly it was hard at first, irritating even. Why should my life change because of the choices of others? But life isn't fair. And as time would have it, the Christmas' of the past, due to even more changes, are now gone forever.

So as time has passed I have pondered Christmas and family and tradition and the meaning and purpose and goal and function of it all. This led to many discussions between my mother and I. It seemed that Christmas often led itself to our family spending days on end in the same house, but not necessarily together. One would find their self in a book, another watching television, another on the computer, another sleeping for an inhumane amount of hours. And it seemed unfathomable that as the days passed with so many people in the same house, that they never really talked or experienced each other. Amazing and sad, pathetic even. So for many months my mother and I conversed. What should we do? How do we change it? Will we push to hard, to far? But the main question was, What do we do?

So, this past week the Sanders Family Christmas itenerary was born. It read as follows:

Saturday (12/22)
5:00 Dinner at the Watson's
Sunday (12/23)
9:00 Church
11:30 Family Lunch at Home – Pizza! Pizza!
1:15 Family Picture
1:45 Cookie Creations
6:00 Church
8:00 Sanders Family Talent Show (all must participate)
Monday (12/24)
9:30 Suduko Challenge (Boys vs. Girls)
10:00 Family Breakfast
10:45 Time for Christmas Presents
1:30 Family Lunch
2:30 Mystery Gift
4:00 National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Thoroughbred Theatre)
6:30 Family Dinner
7:15 Apples to Apples

Truth be told we did not follow the itenerary as perscribed. I was not schocked. Fortunately, I had prepared my OCD mind for this possibility so I was able to successfully go with the flow.

The talent show ended up on Monday instead of Sunday, all did participate, and it was a lot of fun. Even little Haydn had a part.

We weren't able to do the Sudoko challenge on Monday morning as one particular family was very late.

The family picture had to be redone on Monday. The one from Sunday turned out to dark, which was too bad because it was a great picture. But it was okay because my hair looked better on Monday.

The cookie creations were so much fun and we had to take family pictures of those too. Of course Mom's (a.k.a. Martha Stewart) turned out the best.

Dad and Mom

Christa, Haydn, Dewayne /Josh, Jonah, Chara

Me /John, Louise, Laura

Everyone had fun this year. Was it everything I hoped Christmas could be this year? Yes. And no. Life brings about change and change it hard to accept at times. I still find myself in the warmest (in the spiritual sense, not the temperature sense) of houses, hearing the sounds of joy and laughter, smelling the scent of savory foods, and residing in the shadow of two patriarchal figures; but the house is not the same, those that gather are not the same, the two partriarchal figures are not the same, the grandchildren are not the same, and the location is not the same. I suppose one will always long for that which began their fondest of memories. I wore a sweater today that the original matriarch gave me on a previous Christmas - that was my small way of having that far away, long ago place reside with me.

This Christmas did bring with it the vision of the future and there is so much hope, promise, and treasure that lies ahead.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good nite!


Emily said...

wow.. the cookie version of your dad looks eerily accurate.

Sara said...

You know, some of my very best memories of Christmas are from Grandma Sanders house. When there were 10,000 cousins running thru the house, climbing the old tree in the backyard and even sitting in your family's old station wagon with our empty journal books filling them up with stories and poems. I always thought you and Chara were so creative on those days in the station wagon. Oddly enough, as much as we ran and played outside all day long I never remember being cold. It was so much fun to have so many of us there. The mantle could barely hold all the stockings arranged from oldest grandchild to youngest. I loved sitting back in the playroom playing with the toys that our dads and others had played with when they were kids. We would put on skits in grandmas big old bedroom, and sit and her vanity. Those were such beautiful christmas's. I feel blessed to have had them! It is strange how much life and holidays change. I don't think I'll ever stop craving my childhood Christmas's!

Sara said...

BTW those cookies are hilarious!