The Last Christmases

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I know y’all have read the post about only having eighteen summers with your babies. It appears on social media platforms on repeat at the start of each summer season and brings me to tears each time. But why I have never transferred that thought from summer to fall; from the Fourth of July celebrations to Christmas celebrations is beyond me.

Because, just like we only get eighteen summers with our babies, we also only get eighteen holiday seasons.

This point was driven home for me in take your breath away reality on a car ride home from school with my high schooler. We were driving past a snowflake light placed high on a light post and I commented on how annoying it was that it was barely past Halloween and we already had snowflakes. To that, he responded, “I guess I only have to deal with that three more times, as I will be in college in less than four years,”.

Wait……….

What?

Just three more times??

And, once again, I was struck by how fast it all goes. How one minute they are a toddler catching snowflakes on their tongues and the next a surly teenager commiserating with me over early holiday décor. 

Three more Halloweens of him sneaking the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups out of the candy bowl. Three more Thanksgivings where I can ask him to help lug in the groceries a few days in advance of the big day. And, after we get through this one, only three more seasons where he can help move the Elf for the littlest. Three is a tiny number and not nearly enough time for me to fit it all in. 

And you know what else I realize? HE needs the magic of the holidays maybe even more than me. For that young man who is still a little boy in my mind is on the cusp of all things hard with few and far sparkles in between. The stresses of college application and acceptance. The stresses of young love and young heartache. The stresses of leaving the nest and starting anew. He sees these things coming at him as fast as I do. And while he is so excited (and so am I) for all the next chapters, there are days I can tell he wants nothing more than the wonder of finding the elf every morning, making a Christmas list to Santa, and decorating the Christmas cookies.

So, this year, and the next and the next and the next, I promise to Holiday it up, even more so than I usually do (and that is a lot). We will fit in all the magic and then some. Because knowing there is an expiration date on the togetherness that is so quickly looming, has me feeling nostalgic and anxious and sad all at once. 

And he might roll his eyes as I sing All I Want for Christmas at the top of my lungs or grumble about the Santa Brunch I make him go to early on a Sunday, or act as if he would rather do 100 other things than help decorate the tree. But I know, deep down, he loves it. Because it reminds him of a time that was easy, filled with all the good and none of the teenage angst. And gives him hope that despite the hard teenage days, there will always be a safe, happy place he can return to. And while he watches his childhood get further and further behind him, he will be able to believe that no matter how far away it gets, he can always return to that wondrous time in my home, as I will always be making the holidays filled with magic and sparkle and fun. 

The elf has LOTS of mischief to get into over the next THREE seasons. And we got THREE more jaunts to live it up at the local Christmas light show. Oh and THREE more opportunities to experience new holiday events in new locations. THREE more forced Santa visits. And THREE more sessions posing for our holiday cards. THREE more Decembers giving back. And THREE more years of grumbling while putting up the lights. 

Three sure is tiny but can be mighty, and I promise to make it so.

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A New Jersey native who moved to Charleston in 1999. She met her husband, Rusty at Arts in 2001, got married at the Summerall Chapel at the Citadel and celebrated at Lowndes Grove Plantation in 2003. Moved to Daniel Island in 2007, where her son was born. Soon thereafter had a daughter and thought her family was complete (never say never!) Became a virtual educator in 2010 and then an administrator in 2013. In 2017, the family was blessed with another daughter, (surprise!) and have spent the last few years enjoying all that life with three kids in Charleston has to offer……..boating, beaching, eating, concert-ing, traveling, and celebrating the amazing Lowcountry!

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