Friday, December 7, 2007

The Real Reason For The Season - PART II

What are "holidays"? For some, they are a reason to celebrate. For others, they are just another day. For some, it's an excuse to cook and eat a lot of food, and for others it's nothing special at all. For some, there are happy traditions involved, things to look forward to, trust in, and expect. For others? The traditions might not be so happy, maybe the holiday season has been ruined for them by events in their lives.

What are "holidays" for me? They are days where I am busy, but it's a good busy. It's the busy of being surrounded by family and friends. On these days that are set aside for celebration in our country, I do just that. I celebrate! But I celebrate the reason for the holiday, not just the fact that I don't have to send Teenynop to school, or the fact that Fiance gets a little extra pay at work that day. I celebrate the holidays keeping in mind the reason for the holiday.

New Years? I am with my family and friends, having some drinks, some dancing, board games or card games. We celebrate because there is another year behind us, and a new one on the horizon. That new year brings with it new adventures, new love, new chances to laugh and play with the kids, and for some, it feels like a fresh start. It's a new year, and you haven't messed up yet. You haven't yet gone off the diet, you haven't yet punished your children for something petty and small, you haven't yet broken the law, or missed church, or hurt your loved ones. It's a new year, and while this doesn't seem like much, for some people that chance to "start fresh" is everything.

Valentines, I'm with my sweetheart, just enjoying the feeling of being in love. Each holiday is something special to me, each holiday carries with it some true meaning for me. I think there is some meaning for all of us, though the meaning varies greatly from person to person. For some, Valentines day is more a day of mourning than one of celebration. While I celebrate having someone to love, someone who loves me, there are those who are on that day mourning the loss of their loved one, or simply feeling lonely because they haven't quite found "the one" yet. For me, it's about love, and not always the love of my mate, but the love of my family, my friends. It's about the closeness and intimacy that grow in love, whether that's with your husband, your children, or your best friend from elementary school.

But what about this time of year, the time of year which is thought of as the "holiday season"? What is it to me? What am I doing this season? Who am I seeing in my life, and in myself?

On Thanksgiving day, Fiance, Teenybop and I went with his mother and stepfather to her parents' house. It was a day that was long, what with the two hour car rides there and back. Not to mention feeling a little strange since there were so many people there that I didn't know. Add to that the idea that I'm this woman with a child, and here I am with this man who did not father my daughter. In some families, that could be seriously misconstrued. It could be seen as me being a woman who got herself "in trouble" and is now attaching herself to the first guy that comes along, tying him down and saddling him with a child that isn't his.

But thankfully, that's not how any of my meetings with Fiance's family have gone. I have been so accepted with them, and for them I'm not the woman who trapped him, who binds him to responsibilities that he's "too young" for. For them, I'm the girl that charmed him, that has stood by him in spite of all that we've already been through. The girl that loves him and takes care of him, who cooks for him and makes sure he's got something clean and neat to wear. The girl that has taught him things he might never have learned about being an adult, being responsible, and making a family proud. And Teenybop? Well, she's the lovely little mini-me that they can all hug and kiss and play with. They only baby right now in the family, and truly thought of as the first grandchild, whether she comes from his jeans, or merely from his heart.

Thanksgiving? For me, it's always been about family. About reminding yourself that no matter how hard things are, or how bad your life can be, there's always something to be thankful for, if only you're willing to look. And I've always been able to find something. This year? I was thankful for more than family. I was thankful for acceptance into a family, for "adoption", and for being given a place to be comfortable in a house that isn't mine, a family that wasn't mine. But the thing is? They are now. They are my family, too, and in some ways, they are more family to me than the one I was born into. I have so much to be thankful for in my life, and not just on the holidays.

Because for me, holidays are a yearly reminder to do the things I should be doing daily, celebrating that each new day is a fresh start, another chance to get it right, that I should always remember to love and appreciate the people around me, that there's always something to be thankful for ...