However, I now live near them. And not near my family. This is actually a really good thing, most of the time. They live 2 hours away, and B stays with them on his drill weekends. I sometimes come with him and have help with Cora. One time he even took Cora down there without me, and I had a whole weekend off! (Well, not really, I had stuff to do! But it was nice.) We have similar values, and I fully trust them with the care of my daughter.
The one big problem with being enmeshed in your in-laws' lives and nowhere near your own family of origin is losing your own traditions to theirs. My husband is no help in this--he seems not to care about traditions. My in-laws like to do a dinner when all their 5 kids and partners are actually in the same town. In the past years, it has been on Christmas Eve, and then we all exchange gifts with one another. I caved last year (it took some prodding), and we went down there after B got off of work on Christmas Eve, then we drove back here the next morning after attending Christmas morning mass (we didn't go to mass with them because it was when we were driving). The whole lot of us drove back up to our city of Fort Wayne to go to his aunt's house for Christmas. And THEN that evening, Cora finally got to open her presents from Santa/my family/us. And after all that, we got Cora into her pajamas and drove BACK to Indy so we could spend a few more days with the siblings. (I wanted to leave the following morning, but there was a blizzard in the forecast for that time, so we needed to outrun it.)
|Cora with her gifts last year|
I really want Cora to eventually have the whole bounding-down-the-stairs kid-on-Christmas-morning experience I remember from my youth. My sister reminded me that I needed to start putting my foot down now so I don't get steamrolled and "stuck." My mom told me a story about my uncle (dad's brother) who used to take his family back to NY every Thanksgiving, but as the kids got older they had too much going on to do it, and it caused a big stink. My mom has always been very supportive of doing "whatever we need to do." I think it helps that I am a 3rd generation of spouses who are not from the same state and don't live nearby (if that makes sense--my mom is from FL and Dad from NY, and I grew up in GA, and I won't bore you with where my maternal grandparents are from). The general rule in our family was to stay put on Christmas; my first Christmas Day away from GA was the one immediately after I got married.
|Our tree last year. 3 feet tall.|
After hashing out some options, the in-laws and I reached a compromise, and we will have the dinner two nights before. There will still be a bit of back-and-forth, but with a bigger gap this time.
I know that when you get married, you need to start your own traditions. Four years into this thing, and we're still working on it. I think some of the problem is that we haven't been given the chance for it for Christmas Day until now. (Okay, that's not completely true. We had our own small Christmas in FL when I was 35 weeks pregnant.) I think that traditions are important for kids (and their parents!), and I'm glad we're working this out, but sometimes I feel like such a jerk!