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Relationship Resolution 2012

By:  Donna Martin

Whew!  The Christmas holidays are over and the New Year has begun.  Christmas is just not what it used to be when we were young and had kids at home.  As a child Christmas was so simple and full of excitement.  I was able to enjoy all of the sweet treats and yummy foods without having to do any of the shopping and cooking.  I loved going to my grandparents’ house to visit with my grandparents and all of the cousins and aunts and uncles and was unaware of the compromises that were made on the parts of my parents and grandparents in deciding where to go.  I enjoyed opening all of the presents from Santa with no worry about the money that was spent.

Then we got married and had children.  Christmas was still a wonderful time of the year; however, it became a little more stressful.   Now Mike and I were the ones compromising and working out schedules, shopping, baking and balancing the Christmas budget.  But with children in the house Christmas was always filled with wonder and excitement.  We enjoyed attending and participating in church choir and school choir programs and watching our children playing roles of shepherds and angels.  We piled the family in the car and drove around town to look at lights.  The house was decorated with children’s Christmas artwork, and I’ll never forget how hard it was for our children to get to sleep on Christmas Eve because they were so excited about Santa’s visit.  And then Christmas morning was filled with squeals of delight and laughter and love as we all gathered around the Christmas tree to open our gifts.

Now our children are all grown and Christmas has really changed.  With only Mike and I here at our house there is no need to hide presents, not many Christmas programs to attend, and it seems like I decorate less every year.  In fact we had Christmas at Thanksgiving, so Christmas day was simple, and quiet.  Most of our children are married and have children of their own now.  I understand that since they have their own family it is important for them to enjoy that special Christmas morning time with their own children.  We have had our turn experiencing Christmas morning excitement with them as children and now it is their turn to experience that time without our interference.

It could be sad and depressing, but I like to look at it as a new chapter of life.  Instead of feeling sorry for myself I am grateful for the relationship that Mike and I have developed.  We do not have to depend on our children for our happiness.  Because our love for each other has grown through the years, that love is strong enough to sustain us through changing traditions and changing family dynamics.  It is sad, but true that some couples build their lives around their children and when all of the children are gone they find out that they have very little in common.  And sometimes they end their 20 plus year marriage because they have not built a loving relationship with each other.

Sure I sometimes miss all of that Christmas morning excitement, but I love the times that Mike and I have to enjoy the season in different ways.  This year we took a trip to St. Thomas with our daughter the week before Christmas. It was wonderful to get away and relax at a time of year that can usually be very hectic.

If you are young and have children enjoy them and the excitement that they bring into your life.  Make it a New Year’s resolution to spend quality time with your children and make memories and traditions with them.  However, remember that you are raising your children to leave you.  That is why it is so important to make time to build a lasting relationship with your spouse.  So make another New Year’s resolution to strengthen your relationship with your spouse.  Go out on dates, write special notes to each other, make time for love, talk to each other and take a special interest in your spouse’s job and hobbies, criticize less and complement more.  Then when the day comes that just the two of you are enjoying a relaxing Christmas day at home alone you won’t need to feel sad and lonely because you will be spending the day with your best friend.   And believe me those moments together become more special as you grow older.

If you are an empty nester go blog and make a comment on this about how you spend your Christmas together as a couple when the kids can’t come to your house for Christmas.  It may encourage other empty nesters to get creative about the holidays for next year.

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Reader Comments (1)

The hard part of parenting is letting go but if do it the correct way, you never lose them. I still receive e-mails, letters, & thank-you notes from my children recounting their past childhood memories of home and how they have continued them into their own family traditions. My best friend is my partner (Sandra) .... and even when there are no words spoken, our hearts speak to each other through our touch and smiles on our faces as we read about the account's of our children's family Christmases. We may not always be there physically but we WILL be there through our memories of days gone by.

January 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Phelps

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