He was only three weeks old last Christmas. Everything was crazy, overwhelming, romantic, tender and full of wonder all because of our new arrival: Georgio Love.
Wait, we are the parents now!?
Scott, Geo, and I went to church on Christmas Eve. I remember crying throughout the service, pretty hard. It was my first Christmas not being in Michigan (where I grew up), and now, here I was with my new baby and husband in Nashville, doing things a whole lot differently because of our new circumstances. It was my first full realization of how "everything changes" and how "it all revolves around the baby." I didn't have my mom or my dad by my side, but Geo had his parents with him, and that's all that mattered. Everything had changed, including traditions for me — and new ones we would set for him.
Establishing New Traditions
Last year a mix of my family and Scott’s came to visit from out of town. Some were meeting Geo for the very first time. My mom had recently relocated to be closer to us, and she hosted Christmas dinner for everyone at her new home.
During that day and evening, I felt relaxed on the outside (probably due to exhaustion!) but on the inside, I felt tender and fragile, both emotionally and physically. All I cared about and focused on was my baby and his well being. I had conversations with family, but my mind never left my little because I was so cautious and overly prepared. Did we pack the bag with enough supplies? Was he in the most festive outfit? Was he warm enough? Too warm? Was anyone there sick? Luckily, Geo did great, but I was exhausted!
The three of us were the first ones to leave the party that night (a first if you know me and my husband!), and I remember telling Scott on the drive home how I hadn’t been bothered by that fact at all. After all, the best Christmas gift ever was safe and, at the moment, sound asleep in the back seat. We pulled into our driveway and sat there a minute. I experienced a mix of relief from knowing I survived a monumental day that had been building up in my mind for the past year and an overwhelming sense of responsibility and love for our new little creation.
Sharing your first child with your family and witnessing your spouse as a parent is quite a lot to process. It was a magical Christmas, full of so many different emotions.
Time, of course, has flown by, and we just celebrated Geo's first birthday! This year, it feels a little daunting to think about the best way to start new traditions. I want to give him memorable Christmas mornings, create meaningful family time, and raise him to know Jesus and the meaning of Christmas. All while getting through it all without tantrums or colds and for us all to somehow get enough sleep!
Making Peace With a New Era
Unlike last year, this time we'll be celebrating in Michigan. I'm looking forward to reliving some of my childhood traditions with my baby by my side - like taking Geo to his grandpa's church for the Christmas Eve service, or going to the family party and trying to spot Santa and his sleigh in the sky after dinner. As the first grandchild in the family, he'll provide endless entertainment and bring so much joy to all of us. The amount of love he will receive fills my heart.
The reality is that Georgio's Christmas will look a lot different than the ones I grew up with, and I am working on making peace with that. Over time, I know that we will form our own traditions that will evolve a little bit each year as he grows. My primary desire is to create meaningful traditions that our little family can look forward to... ones that will promote positive memories, loving lessons, joyfulness, and of course, the magic of Christmas!
There are a few of the childhood traditions that Scott and I grew up looking forward to each year, plus, some new ones we’ve added since we got married, that I hope to share with Geo:
- Give. Encourage picking out clothing that Geo no longer needs, and donate to a local shelter.
- Learn. Open advent calendars to learn the story of baby Jesus in a fun way.
- Decorate. Pick out a Christmas tree as a family, then have dinner after.
- Create. Make unique ornaments (or one-of-a-kind paintings!) each year to give as gifts.
What traditions have you decided to share with your family? I encourage you to give, love, gather, and create traditions that are special and meaningful to you.
Happy holidays to you and yours!