I'm Pam, and I'm glad you're here. I hope my thoughts on family, faith, and the flux of life help you laugh, fire you up or just make you think.

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Christmas aftermath: connecting again

christmastreeThe days after Christmas are actually my favorites.

The packages are opened, the food is served, the kids are busy, and gift cards are waiting.   And yes, we have tape stuck on the carpet, tags and ribbons everywhere, stocking stuffers with no home, a humongous pile of garbage/recycling, and a slight sense of guilt for the abundance. Still, I feel like the real vacation begins today.  Now I can enjoy the leftovers, family, games, and relaxation without the pressures of holiday hype and preparation. I could worry about how we’ve distorted Christmas with our commercialism and high expectations, but for now I just want to revel in the aftermath. 

It seems like this is when we really connect as a family.  I’ve missed this.  As we cruise through the busy-ness of our days shuffling schedules, checking off obligations and preparing for the rest of our lives, I often wonder if we’re missing the real present:  the present.  The here and the now.  Together. 

For the last few days of 2009, I want to take time to connect.  Maybe I’ll even start a habit that rolls into the new year. 

I want to hang out with my tween and teen boys long enough to hear more about their world, trying my best not to lecture or direct.  I want them to teach me one or two of their video games and get good enough to beat them.  Or not.  And maybe they’ll let it slip which girls have caught their eyes, what uncomfortable things friends are getting into (because I remember a few things about middle school) and help me understand what’s so fun about texting “whazzup” or “OMG!” a zillion times a day. 

I want to get on the floor and play American Girls or Playmobil with my daughter until she’s tired of playing (is that possible?).  I’ll let her teach me the Hoe Down/Throw Down or the latest dance I’ve missed.  I want to hear her describe the complex social scene of third grade girls and affirm how to be an uplifting friend.  And we’ll snuggle a lot, because we both need that. 

I want to enjoy just being with my mom and dad, whom I only see a few times a year.  I want to relish their presence, their conversation and their wonderful hospitality, even in my own home.   I want to stop talking and hear more about their hopes and dreams in this season of life.  

I want hang out with my brother and enjoy his good company after years of twists and turns have left a few old scars.  With my brother, I just want to connect.

I want to enjoy my husband, my best friend for life who has a rare two weeks off work.  I want to drop cut back on the honey-dos and debates over must-get-dones and play together, like we used to do.  If that’s not possible, we can cook together and work on projects together, which is almost as good.  Maybe we’ll even find time for a date. 

This may be an ambitious plan for a week of vacation.  The housekeeping and other chores might have to wait, and my dear friends might not hear from me.  We’ll be that dorky family with lights and decorations out much longer than is fashionable.  I might have to keep this going for a few weeks beyond the vacation time. 

But my family’s all home, and that’s a rare thing.  It’s time to push the other stuff aside and take time to connect.

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4 comments to Christmas aftermath: connecting again

  • Roger Moore

    Pam and Greg,

    It is great to see your post and the positive things you are enjoying through the holidays. You have a wonderful family and deserve many blessings. We read your posts and truly enjoy your willingness to share and remind us to focus on the family and the moment.

    Please send our best to Kent and your parents. We truly enjoyed our last holiday with your family and treasure the memories.

    Our love and best to all!

    Roger, Amanda and the kids Sloan (12) Marissa Kaylee (9) and Juliette (almost 7)

  • Carol H.

    I hope that part of your togetherness is spent in conversations about faith. Start off asking everyone to share their memories of Christmas eve church services. What was it that made the service special? What reminds you in this season that God is among us? How can we keep those feelings going thorough the year?

    Enjoy your family time!

  • Pam, I found your site because my Google Alert said you had some reference to Peace X Peace. I can’t find one, but it’s all good because I love your site.

    Oh – I found it! We’re on your blogroll. Only it’s our old site, before we moved to WordPress. Here’s Week X Week:
    and the new blog home:

    I hope you can update your link AND take a few minutes to catch up!

    My kids are grown and my years have a different rhythm now, but that week after Christmas was always my favorite time too. And we still love family games when we get together. You’re cool to play the boys’ video games. Have you tried Cranium, though? Or Apples to Apples? Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit are still hard to beat too.

    Whatever games you play, I hope your week is way past wonderful. Your kids are mighty lucky – and of course you are too.

    5th day of Xmas virtual hugs,

    Mary Liepold

  • pam

    Thanks Roger, Carol and Mary for your encouragement. We’ve had a lovely week– not exactly the perfect vision of family harmony but connecting nonetheless.

    Today we’re on our second day of a rousing game of Settlers of Catan. It’s one of my favorite family games to challenge young and old alike.

    A blessed new year to one and all.

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