Adventures in Attachment Parenting: Home For The Holidays by Allison Silver
For the past two weeks we were in Albuquerque visiting my family for Thanksgiving. We typically try to visit them around Christmas but this year we got such a great deal on airfare for Thanksgiving that we couldn’t pass it up. However, the catch was that we had to stay for two weeks. Yep, you read that correctly, TWO WEEKS!! My husband is able to work remotely so that wasn’t a problem but could I really handle being around my family for two weeks?!! Last year at Christmas after a week, I was finished! I had offended pretty much everyone in a week’s time and was forced to defend my own style of parenting on multiple occasions. So how would I handle two weeks? More importantly how would my family handle us? After all I’m still breastfeeding and our two year old sleeps in the same bed as us! You know somone is going to have something to say, right? In fact I could just hear it, “She’s still in the bed?” “How long are you going to breastfeed her till she goes to college?” “What do you mean she doesn’t go to bed till after nine o’clock?” “You are really creating some bad habits!”
But to my astonishment nobody said anything, well hardly anything! (There is always a look here or there.) I thought for sure my ninety year old grandmother would pipe up about something but even she stayed quiet! In fact everybody was incredibly supportive. My aunt even put two queen beds in her guest room so we could all sleep in the same room. Our two week visit went really well and we got to spend quality time with lots of family and friends. It was kind of amazing how easy this visit was compared to our last visit a year ago. It made me think, “Is my family really starting to understand our crazy parenting style?” I don’t think they truly understand it but they seem to respect our parenting decisions and at least they are not making comments about it. And perhaps in a years time I have also become a bit more relaxed and confident with my own parenting decisions. During this visit I didn’t feel like I had to defend or explain everything I do.
Being back home for Thanksgiving seemed a lot less stressful compared to Christmas. Perhaps none of us were worried about the holiday madness that always tends to surface around Christmas and just enjoyed the time we had with each other. Christmas is a wonderful holiday but it can be very stressful, in my family especially, when everyone has certain expectations. Come to think of it, no one has expectations of Thanksgiving. There are no gifts, no expectations. Well maybe one, to have a good meal. But there just seems to be a lot less stress surrounding Thanksgiving as a holiday. And quite honestly I love Thanksgiving! I love everything about it. I love to watch the parade in the morning, I love to help prepare the food, and I especially love that many of our family traditions center around sharing a meal together.
Isn’t that what the holidays should really be about? Our daughter will never remember all of the stuff we bought her but what I do hope she remembers (when she gets a little older) are the fun times we had at Grandma’s house, Nana’s antipast, Aunt Mar’s stuffing, Grandpa’s fried turkey or how when it snowed in November Grandma made a German dinner and we had Novemberfest and danced to Polka music. Those are the things I hope she remembers.
And now that our daughter is getting a bit older not only do I want her to experience our family traditions at Thanksgiving (which hopefully someday she will eat more then just Annie’s mac and cheese) but I also want us as a family to create our own traditions and one of those is to celebrate Christmas in our own home. I want her to be able to wake up on Christmas morning to see what Santa brought her at our house. Being away at someone else’s home on Christmas morning just isn’t the same. Plus, I don’t find much joy in having to haul gifts from one state to another!
So perhaps in a way we are making new traditions as a family. In the future we may spend more Thanksgivings in New Mexico but I will most definitely be incorporating some of my favorite New Mexican foods into our family Christmas in California.