This will be our first Christmas together. This year is the start of the rest of all the Christmases. From here on out, no matter where we are, or whose family we visit, or who comes to visit us, the one constant for all Christmases to come will be T.J. and I, together. That is both wonderful and yet, at the same time, hard. Hard because, until now, the constant has been me, my parents, and my sister. Year after year, every year. Either we were in New Jersey with my mom's side, or Tennessee with my dad's side, or in the England years it was just the four of us. Whether we traveled or stayed home, I always knew my sister and I would wake up together on Christmas morning and wait at the top of the stairs before mom and dad said we could come downstairs to see what was under the tree.
Christmases now are more fluid, flexible, changing and now I have a second family to share it with. As T.J. and I are the first in our both our families to tie the knot, we're all trying to figure out what holidays will look like, who's house we will wake up in Christmas morning, where we'll sleep each night we're in town.
It's going to look different. It's not going to feel like all the other Christmases of our childhood, and that's okay. I imagine, eventually, we will settle into a new pattern, a new normal, with traditions combined from my side and T.J.'s side. But right now we're in the in-between Christmas stage. The stage where we're not quite children anymore, but there aren't any other little ones about yet to shift the focus to.
I'm so thankful both our families live in the same town and that we don't have to pick who to visit... but still I'm curious to see what Christmas will look like this year. I'm nervous about managing everyone's expectations, and feelings, and making sure everyone gets to spend an equal amount of time with us. So I'm also doing my best to manage my expectations, perhaps the hardest part of all. I don't want to spend our entire vacation worrying, or feeling like I'm disappointing someone. Mostly I just want T.J. and I to be able to relax together, to spend quality time with our families and friends, sharing meals, playing games, soaking up some Carolina sun (Lord, please let there be sunny blue skies the whole time we're in town), taking it easy, and enjoying our first Christmas as husband and wife. We need this vacation, so bring on the first Christmas of all the future Christmases.
And at the end of the day, probably the biggest thing to get used to will be sleeping in the same room under our parents' roof- hah.