Monday, December 22, 2008

So my kids had the first of their four Christmases this weekend

Every year, our first Christmas is with Truck's dad and his wife.  They are Grandpa and Grandma to my kids, so that is who they will be in this blog as well.  We have a lot of grandparents so I will go ahead and line them out here like a little cheat sheet.

Grandpa - Truck's dad
Grandma - Truck's stepmom
Coco - Truck's mom
Big Jim - Truck's stepdad
Didi - My mom
Dida - My stepdad
Big John - My dad

Okay, now you can refer back to the December 22nd post if you ever get confused about which grandparent I am referring to. 

Anyway, our Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma happens to be my favorite Christmas celebration.  Every year we go to a cabin at a local state park the weekend before Christmas. All in all, it is the most relaxing time of the holidays, sometimes it is the most relaxed I am all year.

I am not sure why it takes a small cabin filled to the brim with family and food to make me relax.  Its the type of setting that would normally make me crawl out of my skin.  You can't really get a minute to yourself and there is stuff  everywhere.  Any other time I would be straightening, cleaning, griping and generally freaking out about once an hour.  But not at the cabin.

So I was thinking about why the cabin is so great.  I wondered what everyone else would answer if I asked?

Grandpa would say it was the location.  He loves the woods and hiking.  However, it is having us all right there with him that is the true appeal for him.  

Grandma would say it was the company.  She is the nicest person I have ever known.  If you could always say the kindest thing in any situation and REALLY MEAN IT, you would still not be half as nice as her (as she? grammar ain't my strong suit).

Jo would probably say it was being with the kids for a long enough chunk of time to make a real connection.  She normally sees them in short bursts and not as often as any of us would like. The cabin is a special time for her and Huck.  I'm sure it will be for her and Worm too, but Huck might be loathe to share her.  Check back this time next year and I'll tell you how it went.

Huck would say something silly like "Shiver me bricks, there's a parrot on me liver" (Sorry, had to throw that in for Jo).  Really it is the attention he loves.  He gets to help make pancakes, decorate cookies, make crafts, hike to the playground, play endless board games.  He gets gifts too, but they hardly blip on his radar.

Worm would say "Cookie, Tif, Mama, Jack, Daddy, Uh-Huh!"  

Truck would say that he hates the cabin and wants to drop the tradition.  He is a big ol' poop head and he would miss it if we stopped.

It was harder for me to pin down my feelings.

Part of the allure for me is that my kids are not on "Mama do it" mode at the cabin. Every adult is at their beck and call so they turn to whoever is closest instead of automatically running to me for every want and need.  Sitting on your butt watching someone else cut up your kids' food, wipe their noses, give them baths and play with them is FABULOUS.

Also, there are large quantities of food.  It is hard to freak out when your belly is so full of cookies that you will puke if you try to scrub a dish too vigorously.  Lots of food ups the relaxation factor exponentially for me.
But really, its the little things that add up to the whole experience that make the cabin the real beginning of Christmas for me.

  • We have a live cedar tree every year that is just like the one from the Charlie Brown Christmas.  It starts out small and sad.  Then we decorate it with popcorn strings, paper chains and various other handmade treasures and suddenly it is gorgeous.
  • We stay in our PJs as much as possible.  If the weather permits, we go on a hike.  I have been known to put on a few clothes over my PJs and set out for the hike.
  • No one cares if you eat a cookie at 8 a.m.
  • Someone will always play a board game with you if you ask.
  • There is a fireplace.  I have a fireplace at home. I hate it.  I never use it.  I love the fireplace at the cabin.  Maybe because I don't have to tend the fire or clean the ashes.
  • There is a TV, but we hardly watch it.  I love not having the TV on.  Even Truck & Huck leave it off most of the time. This is baffling to me.  In a house full of toys, Huck wants to watch TV.  In a tiny cabin with not much to do, Huck could care less about the TV.
  • When I get up at the crack of dawn, I am still not the first one up.  I am the first one up every other day of my life.  It is nice to know someone else is stirring.
  • When I go to bed, I just lay down and go to sleep.  No watching TV until my eyes get heavy. No playing a computer game until my fingers cramp on the track pad.  I just get tired and get in bed.
  • Someone else cooks the food.
  • I am not the only one doing dishes.
  • The view out the window is beautiful.
  • The view around the corner is even more beautiful.
  • The view over those hills is breathtaking.
  • If I want to stay in and ignore the view, no one minds.
  • I get presents that are consistently thoughtful and useful.  I don't mind frivolous presents. but I prefer something that I will use and be thankful for often.
  • I don't have to sweep the floor.
So, my Christmastime has begun with a lot of small special things that add up to a magical experience.  Hope yours has too!


  1. Yes, what you said. I would have to say that the cabin weekend is certainly a marvelous way to kick off the season. I hate that we didn't get to get out and hike this year, but I will admit that staying in my PJs from Friday night to Sunday morning was kind of neat too! The boys are at such a fun age...

  2. It sure sounds magical. I LOVE Christmas time. It's an excuse to have a really MONSTEROUS mess in the living room that we had a ball making and spend endless hours the next couple of days wallowing in while still wearing our Christmas jammies. Yeah. I REALLY love Christmas.