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We all have traditions we observe because we always have. We may not really know why we follow them even. Our Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions were things I grew up with and we added to our own home. We ate Thanksgiving dinner, watched TV, then went to bed. We sometimes had family or friends over, but it was rather low key. Black Friday, we decorated for Christmas and started listening to Christmas music. We opened a gift Christmas Eve, and maybe one or two others prior. We always went to a candle light service Christmas Eve. We always drove around looking at Christmas lights. Some years we spent with Grandparents and cousins. Christmas morning we opened our stockings, then waited until after breakfast to open other gifts.

Leigh and I adopted many of these traditions for our own family. The light driving, candle light service, Christmas Eve gift, everything else Christmas day, decorating Black Friday have all been mainstays in our home. This year is a year of change, though. 2020 hasn't seen any normalcy. Our kids have struggled. We have struggled. Our friends are experiencing pain we wish we could take from them. This is the year to do whatever makes us happy whenever we can. The year for new traditions.

We decorated for Christmas yesterday before we even ate our nontraditional Thanksgiving meal. It was roast, not turkey. We listened to Christmas music. I didn't make pie.

Today, we allowed the kids to open what we were sure was going to be their most favorite gift. This boy has been asking for a djembe for months...or years. You can see his pure joy at opening this gorgeous instrument. The others got well loved things too.

We will continue to allow them to each open one git each week until Christmas. The immense anticipation is quelled. The conundrum of which thing to enjoy when is eliminated. The joy is spread out. Perhaps, our meltdowns from Will and craziness from Mack will decrease too. We know the anticipation of the holidays causes difficulties for them both. Likely Kae too. If we can adjust our traditions and expectations to make them more successful, and teach them flexibility, we have won this parenting battle for today. There will be more tomorrow. There will still be the struggle over how their brains respond to the world and the world to them. But today, they are happy and relaxed.

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