Sunday, December 23, 2007

My First Christmas as an Only Child

I have one older brother. Already the title of this entry sounds a little odd. I have a wonderful older brother named Aaron who is 25 and lives on Oak Island…a small place off the coast of North Carolina about 45 minutes from Wilmington. And up until tomorrow (I know…bad grammar) we have spent every Christmas (well, every holiday really) at home with our parents in Lenoir, North Carolina. (Apparently we have a thing for small towns.) But this year is different. Aaron got married to the best girl in the world (see side-bar for sister-in-law love)…Downey. I love her and she could not fit into our family more. Really, it’s scary how much she is like us. I guess my brother just loved me so much he wanted to marry somebody that talked just like me. HaHa. I am one of those that is able to take any one syllable word and immediately increase it’s grammatical status to at least 3 or more. (I blame Martina McBride, Tracey Lawrence, Teri Clark, and John Michael Montgomery…my first country loves.)

Anyways, back to my point. This is my very first Christmas as an only child. Last year Aaron and Downey were engaged, but not yet married, so they still spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at their own houses. We still got up between 9 and 10 (yes moms, there is hope for a day when your children will sleep past 6 Christmas morning…and believe me, we have to MAKE ourselves get up at that time), did our presents while eating (my favorite) cinnamon rolls with the orange icing and drinking hot chocolate (Aaron and dad) coffee (mom and me), then had a big Christmas lunch (that was actually breakfast food), and spent the rest of the day ooing and ahhing over our new stuff and watching the cheesiest lifetime movies we could find. All family traditions still in tact through Christmas ’06.

Now it’s Christmas ’07. I am sitting in the living room surrounded by Santas we have collected over the years, our 12 foot tree (that is artificial for the first time in my life…OH, that is another story with a soap box in itself), Love Actually is playing on the TV, and I just finished some apple cider that was a little too watered down to bring out my holiday spirit. Dang it. My brother is in Boiling Springs (again with the small towns) with his bride and her family where they will wake up on Christmas morning. My brother will not be here on Christmas morning. (I know, I just said that twice.) Not to be TOO sappy, cause please, he is my brother and we do still get on each other’s nerves from time to time...but its just not going to be the same! We are messing up the present system for Pete’s sake! Kid 1, parent 1, kid 2, parent 2 (repeat). It was so perfect! The sad part is, I won’t even get to SEE my brother on Christmas day! We won’t see him until the afternoon/night of the 26th. I know people do this all the time, and most of you won’t see your siblings n whatnot actually on Christmas day (and if you do, maybe just don’t tell me now…you can send me a “ps” after new years) but this is the first time our family traditions are going through a major change!

Aaron and I always sit together at the Christmas Eve service at our church. Dad's a minister, and mom is either in the choir or playing the piano, or both…so that just left us kids.

Aaron and I always sit together at the “kid table” at our pastor’s house after the Christmas Eve service…even though all of the “kids” at our table are college graduates except 1 who is just 2 years away. We’ve been our little Christmas gang away from the ‘adults’ since I was in Middle School! (Oh, the homely years. *Shudder*)

Aaron and I always watch Christmas Vacation with our parents every Christmas Eve, after the service, after the dinner, after our PJs are on.

Aaron and I always wait til Christmas morning and scurry around trying to find bags and bows to wrap our presents in. (He used to just open the presents from my parents and then go upstairs and use the bags they gave him to put their gifts in...yes, please laugh.)

Aaron always had to knock on my door to wake me up because I insisted we have Christmas morning actually IN the morning (a revolutionary idea, I know)...but I was always the last one in the bed.

Aaron and I always got at least one 'toy' that was the same. One year it was a giant stereo, one year a game boy, once a digital camera, there was the ipod year, and the next was the room speaker for the ipod. And the list goes on.

Aaron and I always made fun of my dad because we couldn't touch a present until his Mannheim Steamroller CD was full steam ahead in the CD player.

And after the presents were done, Aaron and I always gawked at how blessed we were and how much our parents had outdone themselves that year. Every year.

We will still have the Christmas Eve service, we will still go to Janis and David's afterwards for dinner, I will still sit at the kid table with Jon and Christopher (minus the two married couples), we will still watch Christmas Vacation (or sleep through before we go to bed tomorrow night, Santa will still come and bring my presents...he knows where Aaron will be ;), I will still eat my orange-icing cinnamon rolls (GLORY) and coffee, we will still have our big Christmas breakfast/lunch, and my mom will still cry at at least one present that she gets...happens every year.

Sigh. OK, life will go on. And more importantly, Jesus will still be praised. The last thing I do after watching Christmas Vacation every year is go up to my cozy bed and read the Christmas story in the quietness of my own little space. And almost every year, I sit and bawl at the newness I find in that story. This year I will think about my little Hutch and how I can't keep my hands off of his sweet face. And then I'll think if Hutch is THIS cute, can you imagine the effect the Savior of the WORLD..of MY heart..had on those around him? Talk about cute. I bet He was the definition of it. And the greatest love Mary's heart, mine, or yours would or will ever know. What in the world? God loves us so much!!!!

So here's to new beginnings...with our same sweet Jesus.
I love you girls!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! :)

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday Beautiful Jesus,
Happy Birthday to you


Lisa said...

Abby --
Love, love, loved this post. You are a beatiful young writer, even through sharing simple life experiences. God surely has His hand on your life!

It reminded me of my own relationship with my 18-month older brother, Mark. We have always been so close and shared so much life together. And...we were p.k's too, so I relate to that.

Anyway. I love the way you write that makes me feel like I am in the same room with you! That's the mark of a great "storyteller."

Lisa :)

BethAnne said...

Girl, you have to be such a blessing to your parents! If I had a daughter as sweet and Godly as you, I would be so pleased. I pray you have a wonderful Christmas (even as an only child) and I pray that 2008 will be the best year of your life so far! You are a sweetheart! (Oh yeah, glad you arent weighing in -that would stink!)

Erin said...

We are totally in the same situation. My older brother Andy got married last year, and now lives 3 1/2 hours away. Meaning that on Christmas morning, I will be an only child opening all my Christmas presents. And I don't know what to do with myself!

Leigh said...


I wish you a very blessed Christmas with your parents (and brother and sis in law for they will be present in your hearts, though not the same).

Merry Christmas!

Jackie said...

your words are beautiful girl! What a sweetheart! :) I hope you have a wonderful day today...full of lotsof love and precious time with loved ones. I love you!! :)

Bev Brandon said...

you write from your heart abby...
and they are beautiful words
from a beautiful heart
a loved sister

enjoy your moments tonight in
your new chapter of life...
Malachi 3:16
those who fear the Lord
talk with each other and
your beautiful LORD
listens and hears
(paraphrase mine)

He hears your heart.
You bring Him such joy in your words. Your bring us all joy, especially the brother you honor.

Sharon said...

I do hope you had a good Christmas even without your big bro.
I remember the first Christmas after both of my brothers got married and were not coming home for Christmas.
It was rough.
It will get better. And then one day you will be the AUNT. Then it will be sweet again.

Heather said...

I remember how it was my first christmas without my brother. We are really close and after I got married and I was not home on Christmas day or his birthday (23rd) it was really hard on me. So know if you went through all this ... he is probably doing the same thing!

Fran said...

Hey Abby!
Well, how was it?? Did you do ok with the change of everything?? change is just soooo hard. I can remember the early years of being married and then having kids how hard it was to juggle everyone....sometimes we just long for the simpler times, but wouldn't change our situation for anything!

I do hope Christmas was new and fun and exciting and I know your heart was full of Jesus! I thought about you and all of our fantastic blogging siestas.

Love you!

Leigh Gray said...

Abbylane!! Happy New Year sweet friend. What a sweet post. I hope that my kids will have the same kind fo memories! Right now I am not sure they like each other much, but surely it will change. What a beautiful post - just have to read and read it again!! keep in touch sweet girl! Thanks for visiting so often!!

love, Leigh

The Millsaps said...

Just wanted to stop by and say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

connorcolesmom said...

I completely understand where you are coming from b/c I too have a brother. He has been my buddy since forever. We are 14 months apart and the best of friends. I love that your brother married someone like you b/c he loves you and you character so much.
You are a darling person and I hope you enjoyed your Christmas :)
God bless,

Little Steps Of Faith said...

I tag you for book meme...Hope you had a great Christmas:) Be Blessed:)

beckyjomama said...

Oh, Abby, my beautiful bloggy siesta, I know how ya feel. Last Christmas was my first Christmas EVER without my family. I had done several without members of my family but none without ANYONE from my family. My husband and I had moved from Arizona (my home) to his childhood home and, as much as I love his family, it just was not the same. I know how hard that is, I missed MY Mommy and MY Daddy and MY siblings and nieces & nephews etc...! This year was better - my parents came for a visit to meet their new grandaughter!!! - but still a bit bittersweet without the familiarity of my siblings and the traditions that we have known.
HOWEVER, that being said, Christmas - the TRUE Christmas - is NEVER changing!! HE came, HE lives nad HE never goes away!! Hold onto that and you sill be ok! I know we have never met, but that ONE thing we have in common makes us sisters (or in Beth-isms, SIESTAS), so there is truly reason to rejoice!!!

Pastor Lisa said...

You have an awesome family...

And how sweet you miss your brother so...

Patty said...

I loved this post. I enjoyed reading about your Christmas memories! Christmas Vacation is a must around our household.
We had a wonderful Christmas and now I am getting ready for company for New Years Eve/Day.
I hope you have a wonderful 2008 filled with all kinds of delights!

jennyhope said...

happy new year sweet girl! coming to nashville in Jan!

Alana said...

Those first few times when we were not all together were rough, but you adjust to a new kind of normal.

This year we rejoiced in the fact that we were all together for Christmas for the first time in years.

Hope you made it through!

Profbaugh said...

I trust you had a wonderful Christmas, even as the only child. Seriously Abby I was doing great reading your post until I got to the end with your description of how sweet the Christ child must have been and the waterworks started!! Thanks my Siesta for painting a very vivid picture for me.

Much love,

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