My daughter and I seem to have accepted and integrated this agreement into our lives for Christmas did not occur in its usual way.
My son invited us over for dinner on the night before Christmas Eve. We had a wonderful time. I did not bring their presents - we have a Christmas brunch at my house every year. Mark is a supreme chef and made a wondrous pork roast with glorious baked, herbed potato-wedges, and a tasty green-bean casserole - not the kind with mushroom soup and onion rings on top - but a delightful and different one. Their tree sparkled and shone in their redecorated living room. I grew tired too soon and the party broke up, with many hugs and kisses and terms of endearment. It was lovely. I went home steeped in peace.
Sometime the next day, I realized that my son and his beautiful wife were not going to come to my house on Christmas morning.
Christmas Eve I dressed for the evening's frolic at my daughter's home. When I arrived, my niece and her Rich were in the process of leaving. No others cramped the living spaces. Hmm. My granddaughter came out with her new and beloved American Girl doll - both dressed for the festivities. We left shortly after for services at our church where the little one sang in the choir. The priest delighted us with an uplifting and humorous service and my little one shone, of course, more than any of the others (Grandmas are allowed to be prejudiced). After the service, I learned that none of the other family members were coming back to my daughter's - they were planning on seeing each other on Christmas Day in the afternoon. A care package with some cookies and ham accompanied me as I was escorted from the home - the family was going to a friend's for the rest of the evening. Pippin and I drove home, surprised at the turn of events, but, after a few choice tears, the blessedness of a quiet evening soothed my soul. I slept in contentment.
The next morning, knowing no company would be forthcoming, I rested in jammies, held Pip on my lap and fend him wee Christmas treats, and opened a few presents. It was lovely.
Until my daughter called, inviting me to her house for Christmas brunch. I dressed in two seconds and Pip and I were out the door before the phone had cooled off. The morning was lovely, the breakfast was very good, and we ended up making more Christmas cookies, which was most fun.
The Four Agreements has been such a blessing to me. Neither my daughter nor I were upset by the oddity of the Christmas celebrations and rejoiced in having family at all and food and shelter and laughter.
I pray you all had a glorious Christmas - whether as expected or not - and that your New Year is incomparable, with warmth and joy, good food, friends, and health. But, of course, with no expectations.