With four kids and all that comes with that I have learned to be more flexible and to realize that a lot of things change. Kids grow up and out of their current phases. Cute clothes are worn out or wrecked. Babies stop gumming every thing they chew on and get sharp teeth and the toothless grins are gone. Baby teeth fall out and adult teeth come in and our cute kids get a Hillbilly look to them. I found a picture of #2 the other day with long hair and forgot how adorable it was because for the last couple years she wanted shorter hair. Two of my kids have glasses now so that’s another change and I can see my oldest on the cusp of being a Tween and that is just nuts to me.
In all the change we witness every day I am amazed at the constants. The things that don’t change.
Everyone on my mom’s side of the family is Ukrainian so we have been celebrating Ukrainian Christmas for as long as I can remember. We usually get together the first weekend in January to celebrate and eat delicious food. My earliest memory of this event was when we would go to my Baba’s place. She was living in an old people apartment on her own and there was a space on the main level with a table and little kitchenette. She would bring down food and the smell of fried pampushki, perogies, and cabbage rolls filled the whole building. We would eat and visit. While waiting to eat or after we were done my sister and I would run around the building and chase each other with 2 of my cousins. Looking back I am surprised that we weren’t yelled at more by the people living there. We ran up the stairs and played in the elevator. It was a lot of fun and freedom.
Even though Baba is the word for Grandmother we used it with our great-grandmother on my mom’s side. When she developed Alzheimer’s and passed away, my Aunt took over the tradition of cooking and gathering everyone. She started teaching our kids and her grand kids the traditions. We have gone every year for as long as I can remember and now that we live a good 7 hour drive away I was thinking we would be justified in skipping it. My mom reminded me about it and asked if I would come. Everyone would have understood if we didn’t but I realized that there are some things that are sacred like family and traditions and supporting each other regardless of the time, distance or circumstance. Most people would think I was crazy but it was important and worth the drive in the end. We left bright and early Saturday morning, got there in the afternoon, ate and slept over at my Aunt’s and then drove back after church on Sunday. Four kids in the car could have gone so wrong but we were lucky the weather was good.
I’m glad we kept the tradition alive and a few days after getting home we took the tree down and got back to our regularly scheduled programming. Another great part about celebrating Ukrainian Christmas is the excuse to not get the Christmas tree down until at least the middle of January. This might be the last Christmas our tree looks like this, with the ornaments missing from the lower half. Guess how tall the baby is now. Must be nice to have no impulse control. For now I’ll just be grateful because it’s not always going to be like this.