As your kids get older there are dozens of trade offs as you leave old annoyances behind but also lose moments of joy that are unique to younger ages.

Sadly the Christmas spirit is pretty much gone among our girls this year. Yeah, L still has some moments where she’s down. She’s the only kid who has wanted to sit down and watch Christmas shows with me. She was listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving, although she has not listened to much since then. She’s the only kid who is interested in looking for Elfie, and some days she forgets. She’s also in charge of our Advent calendar and many days I’m moving our little candy cane marker because she forgot.

The other two? Largely checked out to all the traditional stuff. They’ll stroll through and catch me watching Elf or Christmas Vacation, pause for a moment, laugh at me rather than the movie, and then move along. They roll their eyes when we bring up holiday things they used to love.

That bums me out a little. For all those maddening moments that came with having little kids at the holidays, there was also that sense of magic, wonder, excitement, and anticipation that just isn’t in the house anymore.

Last night we took one of their aunts and her two-year-old for a ride to look at Christmas lights. The girls did good helping little M spot cool things and keep him interested. I know they’re excited about their grandparents getting here Wednesday, our Christmas Eve gathering, and then Christmas Day at our house. Which, really, is what the holidays should be about: getting together with family and those you love.

Their lists reflect their ages. A lot of practical requests for things that will be used for months. At first this, too, bothered me. “Why aren’t they asking for anything fun?” I wondered. But over the weekend I remembered how I used to be annoyed at how they asked for toys that they would play with until early January then would ignore. So while the fun factor may be lacking, at least they’re asking for things that won’t be forgotten about before MLK day.[1]

And I should give M some credit. She has a pretty tight group of friends that had a special “Friendsgiving” day last month. They got together, made treats, and hung out for a few hours. When December rolled around they decided to do a Secret Santa thing. Last Friday after school we went to the Dairy Queen around the corner so they could exchange their gifts. C and I sat a few tables away, eating ice cream, and watching.[2] It was very sweet to watch M and her friends find out who their Secret Santa was and open their gifts. There were some very creative ones, and lots of hugs. Four of them are going to high school together, but there’s no guarantee that group will be as tight a year from now as they are now. C was kind of rolling her eyes the whole time. I told her that it would be really cool if she and her friends she’s known since kindergarten did the same thing when they are eighth graders in two years.

  1. L is still asking for some fun stuff. But it’s mostly Xbox/Fortnite related.  ↩
  2. L was at book club.  ↩