Christmas 2010 was the first year we have celebrated without our intact nuclear family. Even though Rachel moved out long ago, she's always been with us or we with her for Christmas, whether in Columbia or Hautrage or Rochester. This year was different, with Rachel and Stephan staying in Rochester, and Becky and Sarah didn't like it. They decided that, since our family order is now immutably different, we also needed new traditions. So instead of waiting at the top of the stairs for the parental go-ahead to check out what Santa left, they came downstairs on their own. Instead of the ritual "open presents, pause for breakfast and to make monkey bread, and then open some more gifts," and in view of the smaller, more adult Christmases we'll now be having, they opted for opening all the gifts before preparing a big Christmas brunch - with no monkey bread. (We saved that for Repeat Christmas a couple days later with Rachel and Steve in Rochester.) It was a little sad for all of us to realize that life changes as the girls grow up and establish their own families. It made me think about how our parents must have felt the first time we didn't "go home" for Christmas because we'd realized it was time to start our own family traditions.
Life changes, but if we're lucky, it goes on. We hope that, as our girls move on to new phases of their lives, we will have the opportunity to share in the rituals and traditions they and their families establish.
And we wish all of you a happy and blessed 2011.