Twizzler’s Return!

It was four years ago that we found our Christmas elf, Twizzler, had gone missing! It was completely unexpected and it certainly threw me for a loop. Luckily, Jack was ready to jump in and take Twizzler’s place for that year. One year turned into two, then three, and four. The second year Jack arrived with a note that explained that Twizzler had been assigned to another family and that he, Jack, would our elf now. CJ was especially disappointed that Twizzler wouldn’t be coming back but we could NOT find that elf! I cursed myself for hiding him so thoroughly that even four years later he had still not been found.

We moved on and Jack became part of our family, eagerly looked forward to every Christmas.

2020 has been a rough year. There’s no one that can deny that. As we are entering another surge of the virus in our area, people seem to be of two minds- holidays to the max or blah bah humbug. While our decorating has fluctuated depending on circumstances during that season, this year we decided that if ever holiday cheer was in need it was 2020.

And then in the middle of decorating this happened.

“You need to come here.” My husband’s tone immediately grabbed my attention. His voice was grave. His face was solemn. I exchanged looks with my oldest son, Michael. Six year old Beej was oblivious, chattering about some silly six year old thing. I followed my husband into the other room, when to my surprise he held out something in his hand that he had been hiding behind his back.

TWIZZLER IS FOUND!

Curled up in a miserable little ball, dusty and withdrawn- it was Twizzler!

I looked questioningly at my husband. I had felt awful that I had lost Twizzler! He looked sheepish. He motioned to a high shelf that I couldn’t see let alone reach. “I guess I put him up there.” I don’t think the expression on my face needed any words to convey my feelings. I hadn’t lost the elf! We are upping the ante both outside and inside the house, spreading the lights and sparkle everywhere we can. It is the only reason I can find that would have my husband looking on top of furnishings I cannot reach.

I’m glad that we found Twizzler and I’m not going crazy hiding things in places I can’t find. I’m not saying that I don’t see that happening in the foreseeable future- because I can totally see that happening. I’m just glad that day hasn’t come yet!

We have not decided how to re-introduce Twizzler into the equation. Beej does not remember him and in the last few years Jack has had another elf friend visit. How many are too many elves?? I know that there are many who would say one is too many but we are an elf family here. I’m not sure how I would have felt if these elves had been around when my children were young but for the grandkids, we find it a fun new tradition.

So in these trying times, something happy happened and- Twizzler is home! (And Mr. K is not allowed to be in charge of the elves.)

Hope these days find you happy and healthy!

-Kat

Deconstructing Christmas

IMG_1461Yesterday when I reached down to unplug the lights that decorate our family room, three year old let out a cry of dismay. “NOoooooo, don’t take down Christmas!” He has an extensive vocabulary, well beyond his three years, but this was the year he discovered Christmas. In his ever-expanding world, the concept of Christmas was so huge it was beyond words. If you were to point out each individual decoration, tradition or experience, Beej could easily tell you its name accompanied by some incredible adjectives. But this entire experience has been so enormous in his life that he wants to hold onto all parts of it.

I’ve been slowly taking down decorations when he’s not here. The stockings, pillows, table runners and other fabric items have been washed, folded and stacked up to be packed. Any wall decorations have been taken down when I noticed them still hanging there. Snowmen and Santas and all the other cutesy stuff I place on shelves or table tops has been gathering on a table or flat surface out of Beej’s reach, ready to be wrapped up and boxed.

When Beej arrives today he will find the biggest change so far with only the tree with lights but minus ornaments, window lights and yes, the “Christmas” aka lights in the family room being the final reminders of the holiday. I’m hoping this will satisfy him as I get him prepared for the next holiday. Valentine’s Day.

Beginning with Halloween, Beej is more aware of holidays and seasons. This causes him to be slightly resistant to changes. He mourned Halloween and protested Thanksgiving. He insisted that he did not like Thanksgiving (although he didn’t know what it was) and within a day or two, Thanksgiving was the greatest! It doesn’t fail to amuse me because around here the difference between the two holidays is that I pack away the ghosts and pull out some turkeys- everything autumn-like remains. And then in true Beej fashion, he was so attached to Thanksgiving that he incorporated the cornucopia into his play kitchen.

I’m always sad to take Christmas decorations down. For such a stressful time of year, I should be happy to see it leave. And yet, each year stirs different feelings inside. This was the first year that I had the full Christmas beyond my husband and kids. Hosting for everyone (my parents, siblings, nephews) is a big job, but this year didn’t seem as much of a trial. Everyone is in a much different place than years past and I think it speaks to the strength of family what we were able to rise above past drama and come together. Two of my children were not with us on Christmas day, which left a huge hole in my day, but we celebrated as a family a few days later and it was good.

Maybe it’s all the extra baggage that Christmas includes- tons of family face time, crowds shopping, planning parties, our own expectations, missing loved ones who are not here- that leads to a sort of let down feeling. But the truth is I’m ready to pack it up and let it go. I’m all into letting things go these days so I’m focusing my thoughts on how uncluttered my house will feel with all the Xmas trimmings gone.

It’s time for me to shake my thoughts free of jingle bells and Santas and look ahead to a full year. I have a loved one still on the road to recovery, two kids graduating from college, one applying to grad schools, a lost sheep who needs some tending, and mindfulness of my own to work on.

Oh, and if you hear the angered cry of a three year old, you’ll know that Beej has begun his boycott of Valentine’s Day!

-Kat

Tonight is Christmas

…. so no, it really isn’t Christmas- obviously. I’m a little late with this one but here is my third Christmas song for 51 Weeks: 51 Songs from the Past.

The country band, Alabama, released their first Christmas album in 1985. I was working in retail at the time- open to close almost every day of the week for the month before Christmas, and I had the distinct pleasure(?) of working near the electronic department….where Christmas music was blasted at top volume from open to close. And Alabama Christmas was the music of choice….. By December 26th, I hoped to never hear any of the songs on this album ever again but in time, this became some of my favorite Christmas music.

Tonight is Christmas is a moving song about Christmas, peace and love.

“’cause tonight is Christmas, tonight is love
Tonight we celebrate god’s one and only son
Tonight there’s hope for peace on earth eternally
Tonight is Christmas and the world’s in harmony”

51-weeks-51-songs-from-the-past

Hope your Christmas was peaceful and happy!

-Kat

Catching Up

I did finally make it out of Target in time to celebrate Christmas. Two of my kids were not with us this year so we will be celebrating with them soon. Their absences left a huge hole in our day. Lucky for us, our little guys were with us and there’s nothing like the excitement children have for the holidays!

We shared good times, good food and a cozy fire with some loved ones. And that mischievous elf, Jack, stole my camera and attempted to take a selfie!

I hope this holiday season finds you happy, healthy, safe and warm!

Love, Kat

The Angel on My Tree

Originally written two years ago, I’m sharing this post again for all of those moms of transgender kids who find themselves struggling at this time of year.

IMG_9297This will mark our sixth Christmas since Kris came out as transgender and navigating the holidays has been a journey in itself. I’m happy to report that each year it becomes less and less of an issue. This year is probably the first one that will only find me shaking my head at the ornaments and wondering what’s next.

Whether you are facing your first Christmas or your tenth since your child came out, if it is causing you to feel sad or a bit blue, please know that in time, it will get better. You won’t be in this place forever and you are not alone.

Dandelion Fuzz

The holidays can be a difficult time for many people for any number of reasons. The list is endless. For me, my downfall is the ornaments on our tree. Since Michael’s first Christmas 25 years ago, my kids got ornaments with their name and the year on them. Some years I would also get a personalized family ornament. Then lets add in the ones given as gifts over the year, always with a name on them. That’s a lot of ornaments.

When Kris first came out as transgender, the impact of opening the boxes that first Christmas and seeing the name that I had given my daughter times 18 (and more) caught me off guard. That first year, all of the ornaments with Kerri’s name on them were put away in a separate box. During year two, I braved that smaller box and studied each ornament, determining which ones would survive…

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