What others have pointed out to me over the past few weeks as I have struggled with questions on how to bring up my Jewish children during Christmastime is how important it is to create customs and traditions that are our own. We may celebrate Hanukkah but we also celebrate things that are unique to Christmas too and that is okay.
For the past few years we have enjoyed putting the kids in pajamas and driving around to look at Christmas lights. We have really enjoyed Weaver’s Winter Wonderland in Cotati and every year we download the City of Petaluma’s map of decorated houses and drive to see those as well. The kids really enjoy this every year and so do we. The best part is tiring them out in the car and getting them home to an easy transition into their beds.
I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person. On one hand I may be struggling with how to celebrate our own customs but on the other I end up taking my kids to not one but two gingerbread-house making workshops in a day. Because of this, Saturday saw my kids consuming about as much candy as they do on Halloween. We finished up our weekend with four wonderful little houses fit for Hansel and Gretel.
After our gingerbread-house-making extravaganza we headed over for a quick trip to Theater Square to see the Festival of Trees. We didn’t stay long because Georgia was convinced that at 6:00 in the evening her gingerbread house was going to melt in the car. She didn’t even want to say “hi” to Santa.
The other morning my kids woke up at their usual 5:30 am and I could hear them talking in their bedroom. Olivia and Georgia were arguing about Hanukkah and Christmas. Olivia said to Georgia, “We don’t celebrate Christmas!” and Georgia with a raised voice yelled back, “Yes. We get Christmas presents for Hanukkah!”
We have decided to spend Christmas day with my sister and her husband who are also not going down to my mom’s house for the holidays. It will be a nice way to enjoy Christmas while keeping to our tradition of not having a Christmas tree in our home.
I think people have a tendency to get pretty nuts during December. There is a lot of rushing around and not being careful. I’ve heard more comments from friends about crazy drivers and I have also witnessed my fair share of insanity.
While at the mall the other day, I returned to my car to see someone’s big black Mercedes parked so close to the right side of my van that I didn’t think I could get my pregnant self on that side to put Rocky into her car seat. Luckily I was able to fit, but while I was there the owner of the car returned, got into her car, and proceeded to back out while I was putting Rocky into her car seat. I glared at her and so did another woman who was on the other side of the Mercedes. She practically ran us over trying to back out. What was her hurry anyway? And would running over a pregnant lady and her child be worth it?
But I will admit that I haven’t been the sanest during the past few weeks. I’d like to blame my pregnancy but knowing me I probably would still do them even if I wasn’t pregnant. The being pregnant part just makes things seem that much more humorous.
Last week, while returning a pair of sensible boots I found myself instead buying a pair of platform heels. As I drove away from the store, I had to laugh at the fact that it was probably the most insane purchase I have made pregnant. What nearly eight-month pregnant lady wears platform heels anyway? Okay, maybe Rachael Zoe, but I am a pregnant mother of three not a celebrity stylist.
Then there was the fact that my neighbor casually mentioned to me that a certain gift I had been interested in getting my children for the holidays was sold out everywhere. I instantly made it my mission to find that item in a day and lock it down. It took me two separate Best Buy stores and ultimately a little bit of a headache picking them up from those two stores in Marin, but I got them nonetheless. In my head I was like, “Ha! Ha! Take that!” I got this thrill out of finding those darn things and getting them despite their supposed inaccessibility (She was right though, they were really hard to get). I felt like I was in a holiday movie insanely tracking down the hottest holiday gift. I felt accomplished but sort-of crazy too.
The holidays are here and I am enjoying them more and more with each passing day. We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in some fashion but ultimately all I want for “Chrismakah” is a healthy baby. My doctor ordered an ultrasound for tomorrow because she has been measuring small. I am trying to remain positive and keep myself focused on all the fun we have been having as a family instead of worrying about what this could mean. Gingerbread houses, candy cane making, lights, gift purchasing, and holiday movies have kept my spirits high.
At the end of each crazy-filled day I enjoy the quietness of my home and the opportunity to rest my hands upon my belly to feel my baby kicking away inside. There is no greater miracle than pregnancy and I am enjoying it despite my crazy self. And with just over a month left to go, who knows what I’ll get myself into.