My Christmas Gift To My Son
“Mom! Why does everyone need to be celebrating Christmas on the same day? Can’t we just spread it out somehow?”
My 28-year-old son, like many in today’s modern families, is living the quintessential Christmas conundrum. “Where do we go for dinner, lunch? If I don’t see my parents, will they be upset? But I also want to be there for my kids. And my partner’s family expects us too. How can we be everywhere at once?” It’s the classic holiday dilemma!
I sympathized deeply with my son, caught in the whirlwind of festive juggling. He’s striving to balance multiple priorities: making his girlfriend happy by celebrating with her family, maintaining our cherished tradition of opening gifts on Christmas morning, and spending precious moments with his daughter, whom he sees just once a week and every other weekend.
This struggle was draining the joy out of our holiday gatherings. I could empathize with his pain and anxiety, having been in similar situations myself. Over the years, my husband and I had our share of debates about whether to forge our own path or try to please everyone on the same day. Questions like “Where will the kids spend their time? With whom? For how long?” never seemed to have easy answers.
This complexity doesn’t diminish with adulthood; in many ways, it intensifies. I completely understand my son’s predicament and the desire of our extended family to preserve our holiday traditions for yet another year. It’s a difficult balance to strike.
After reflecting on his concerns, I called him to reassure him that it's perfectly fine if he can't be with us the whole day. As his mom – and someone who's navigated these choppy waters as a stepmom too – I know all too well the challenge of trying to please everyone. I expressed my love and let him know how much we’d enjoy his and his girlfriend’s company whenever they could join us. I could sense a palpable release of tension from him, a sign that he felt empowered to make a decision that worked for him.
It’s perfectly natural for him to want to make his girlfriend happy – that’s an important part of life. As a stepmom and mother, I’ve always been an advocate for putting your partner first because that forms the bedrock of a strong, blended family. Now, it’s my turn to practice what I preach.
So, echoing my son’s sentiment: Christmas should be about joy, not stress. Let’s remember to be flexible and understanding, creating new traditions that accommodate the beautiful complexity of our modern families. Merry Christmas, and love to my son and all the families navigating these challenges.