I’m one of those moms who had a child at a “later age” in life. My first two children were born during my early twenties and my third child came when I was in my 40th year. Parenting is challenging at any life stage, so I can’t say that it is any easier now than it was twenty-plus years ago or that it was easier then when I was a younger mom. I can say that I am a different person than I was twenty years ago and life circumstances are different…at least some of them are different.
When my older children were around the ages of 6 and 7, we established our own Christmas tradition called, “Special Day”. My reasons for implementing this tradition were partly because of my wish to downplay the whole Santa Claus thing and to focus on Jesus’ birthday celebration and partly to set up some boundaries against the spending frenzy that Christmas could become. As a single mom, I was constantly balancing or defending against one thing or another. Special Day was simply a day spent with each of my children individually to do things together. It was my Christmas gift to them and the only one they would get from me. We had a set amount of money to spend and spend we did! In those early years, we would go bowling, ice skating, horseback riding, arcading, movie-watching and more all in one day. (Of course, whoever went first would set the bar, so day two would be all those things plus one extra something to win bragging rights.) Special Day has changed over the years, but it’s still a really special thing for us. I suspect we’ll always do it…I truly hope we do.
The youngest hasn’t yet had his first Special Day, but the seeds have been planted to get him ready, too. This weekend we were having some snuggle time and I told him how much I enjoy our quiet time at home together. He replied, “yeah, I just like to be somewhere where you are.” I think he is beginning to grasp the concept of Special Day: our days together are our best gift to each other.