Grandad and I have always lived within about 30 minutes of both of our parents. This made holidays easy because we never had to choose. And to further simplify matters, his family traditionally celebrated on Christmas Eve and my family on Christmas Day.
As our family has grown, the holiday season has gotten more complicated. I try to be reasonable, but, darn it, this is the one thing that I'm not good at sharing. I really want all them to come home for Christmas every year.
When Katy & Travis first married, they would come home for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day one year, then they next year they would celebrate those two days with Travis' family and then come to see us sometime in the next few days. When Nick was single, he would just hang out in town as long as he was off work and then we would all celebrate together whenever Katy and Travis could make it home. It wasn't bad, because Travis' family is in San Antonio which is only about two hours away. They would often come home in the evening on Christmas Day or the next morning.
Then, when Nick and Marie married, it got complicated. Nick and Marie live in Houston. It's about 4.5 hours from their house to ours. But that's not the killer distance. Marie's family is in El Paso. I have been told that El Paso is the farthest point from Corpus Christi that is still in Texas. It's approximately 700 miles from Corpus Christi to El Paso. Conservatively, that's a 9.5 hour drive. And, that makes visiting both families for the same holiday unreasonable if not impossible.
So, around the time Nick and Marie got married, the kids started alternating years. One year Nick and Marie would go to El Paso and the next year they would come to Corpus Christi. The year that Nick and Marie went to El Paso, Katy and Travis would come to Corpus Christi. This resulted in having one set of kids each Christmas, but never having both at the same time for Christmas. I was not pleased with this arrangement, so I suggested that they re-arrange their schedules to both be in Corpus Christi one year, and the next year they would both visit their in-laws. My thinking was that in the years that they did not come home for Christmas, we would take a cruise or a trip. My hope was that, such a trip would take my mind off the fact that my kids and grandkids were not home for Christmas. They were very receptive to re-arranging their schedules and did so without complaint.
This was the first year that both of our children went to their in-laws for the holidays. We did not take a Christmas vacation this year because we took a vacation in October and our finances didn't allow for another trip so soon. Plus, Patrick's mother is still living, and I don't want to deprive him of Christmas with his mother who is now over 80 years old. So, we ended up having Christmas Eve with Grandad's family and on Christmas Day we were on our own.
Add to all this that I have a sister with special needs who lives in a group home in Seguin. Since we did not have any plans, we volunteered to have Kay for Christmas.
All of this resulted in what I have come to call the never-ending holiday.
Thursday, November 28 - Saturday, December 1 - We traveled to Houston where Grandad worked Thursday and Friday while I shopped. Then we kicked off the holiday season with Grandad's company Christmas party on Saturday night. We returned home on Sunday evening.
Wednesday, December 5 - Annual Bunco Christmas Party. This is one of the best events of the season for me. We go to a restaurant and relax and talk for a couple of hours. It's twelve women that I enjoy spending time with and there is no stress related to this party.
Thursday, December 6 - Annual Christmas Party dinner with my former co-workers. This is a tradition that we have continued since we all worked together several years ago. It's good to get together with them and catch up on everyone.
Weekend of December 8 & 9 - We started putting up our Christmas tree and realized that the lights were not going to work. So we went and bought a new tree and came home and put it up. The rest of that week was spent decorating the rest of the house.
Friday, December 14 - Sunday, December 16 - We enjoyed a visit from Our Little Princesses while all our kids ran in the Run For Your Life 5K Zombie Run in Austin. The highlight of the weekend was a trip to The Nutcracker for Princess E and Grams. It was a fabulous event. There will be more on that in a later post.
Friday, December 21 - We spent the night at Katy & Travis' home in San Antonio. Nick & Marie also spent the night on their way to El Paso. The kids all gave us their Christmas gifts on Friday night. We did not anticipate receiving our gifts then, so we did not have their gifts with us.
Saturday, December 22 - We drove from San Antonio to Stockdale for a Christmas party with The Vanecek Family (my mother-in-laws family). We left there around 4 p.m. and drove to Seguin to pick up Kay, then drove home to Corpus Christi.
Sunday, December 23 - Just when I thought all my shopping was done, I realized that, since Kay was here, I needed to stuff a stocking for her. So, after our traditional morning mass and family breakfast with Grandad's family, I spent the day shopping for last-minute gifts. I also joined Grandad's family for an ill-fated trip to the movies to see The Hobbit. Not only was I so exhausted that I fell asleep several times, the projector broke and they had to restart the movie a couple of times.
Monday, December 24 - I cooked and wrapped gifts all day, then we attended Christmas Eve mass, followed by our annual celebration of Christmas with Grandad's siblings at my mother-in-law's house.
Tuesday, December 25 - We spent a quiet Christmas Day at home opening gifts with Kay and each other. Then we watched movies at home.
Wednesday, December 26 - We drove back to Seguin to drop Kay off at the group home. Then we met Bylinda in San Marcos for lunch and to exchange gifts. We stopped at a couple of stores at the outlet mall which was very crowded. Then we drove home.
Friday, December 28 - Sunday, December 30 - Katy, Travis, and Our Little Princesses came home to celebrate Christmas. Katy and Travis left on Sunday.
Sunday, December 30 - Tuesday, January 1 - Our Little Princesses stayed with us for Grams & Pop-pop's Rockin' Toddler New Year's Eve. On Tuesday, we drove to Three Rivers where we returned the girls to their parents and came back home.
Wednesday, January 2 - I hosted my annual Bunco party which included cleaning my house after a visit from the Princesses and cooking dinner for 12 people.
Friday, January 4 - Sunday, January 6 - Nick and Marie came home to celebrate Christmas with us.
Tuesday, January 8 - I undecorated the Christmas tree and put away the indoor Christmas decorations.
Thursday, January 10 - Grandad moved the Christmas tree out of the living room into the garage.
Saturday, January 19 - Grandad took the outdoor decorations down and put them away.
Thank God, the never-ending holiday is finally over. During the two weeks we were out of school I also did some sewing for other people. I made five garments for one customer and hemmed ten pairs of pants.
Needless to say, this schedule did not really work for me. I was physically and emotionally exhausted by the time it was over. 2013 is our year to have the kids here for the holidays. Before the holidays in 2014, we will have a new plan. I think reverting to the original idea to travel over the holidays may be in strong consideration. Time will tell.
Anyway, this post is meant to explain my somewhat conspicuous absence from blogging for the past six weeks. I really am going to try to make an effort to get back to posting twice a week.
How do you handle sharing the holidays with your grown children and grands? I'd definitely be open to any helpful suggestions.