Sunday, November 14, 2010

Much Ado About...Oysters?

One of the things I love most to do is entertain.  In the good 'ol days--the days before our nest became empty--we hosted many gatherings in our cozy little house, from occasion related parties to casual cookouts just to have fun with neighbors, friends, and family.  The cookouts were just like the ones you've seen in movies and even commercials.  A gathering of adults and children- the grill smoking with burgers and hot dogs; sprinkler blasting water in all directions as the kids run, laughing and screaming, through the jetted streams, pulling each other in the wagon, swinging and hanging upside down on the swing set; adults with drinks in their hands, talking and laughing, cooking and getting all the necessary items out on the picnic tables for the Norman Rockwellish summer feast--buns, condiments, watermelon, baked beans, homemade french fries, cups, plates and napkins decorated with a summer theme of beach umbrellas and flip flops.  No special occasion needed--just spending time with each other.  There were the occasion supported gatherings, celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, bridal and baby showers (the most recent one is in the picture above), etc.  And then there were the holiday gatherings from dinner parties where we all actually dressed up and prepared fancy five course meals (where our next door neighbor, at the time, would make her homemade French Onion soup--DELICIOUS!) to parties for the purpose of collecting toys for children of the local migrant workers and creating Christmas crafts.  Ah, yes.  Those were, indeed, the days my friend.  But then--and is almost seems suddenly, now--the children got older, some of the adults grew apart and divorced, and others moved to new neighborhoods, towns, or even states.  This, coupled with a now empty nest, led me to the realization that we had better come up with some holiday plans that would accommodate everyone being able to attend.  Thus, our FIRST ANNUAL EMPTY NEST CHRISTMAS OYSTER ROAST is in the works.

My thoughts are that we have this gathering the weekend before Christmas and include friends and family.   That way, should anyone not be able to make it the actual day of Christmas, we will still be together during the season.  I know this kind of thing happens with an empty nest, especially when one daughter is married and another one lives nine hours away and has a job.  I am also aware that the preparations won't be as much fun as they used to be when our girls were little.  When I roll up the cheese and olive balls and the sausage balls, for example, they will all be uniform in size and I won't have to say something like, "We're not rolling up basketballs here girls." (and very few to none will be dropped on the floor.).  No one will be here to get covered in icing while decorating the Christmas cookies (see how cute they were making the cookies?).  No one will be here to lick the mixing bowl of cake batter and icing.  No one will be here to lick the cooled pot that was used to cook the homemade fudge.  No one will be here to ask if I would please just go ahead and cook a few things right now just for a taste.  No one will be here to help decorate the house or the trees.  No one will be here to shake every single present under the tree to try and guess the contents (and YES they STILL do this.).  HOWEVER, they will be here to enjoy it!  Plus, it's an OYSTER ROAST!  Who doesn't love an oyster roast?!  There will be oysters outside and Christmas goodies inside (because, although I love to throw the party, I HATE oysters) and the warmth will be provided by the gathering of friends and family.  Right.  There's only ONE problem with that wonderful picture---

Married daughter and BestSonInLawEver (both soon to be known as TheTwoWhoDidNotCometotheOysterRoast) won't be able to come because of a wedding they justhavetogotomom.  AND the one who wanted to experience living in a big city (soon to be known as TheOtherOneWhoDidNotCometotheOysterRoast) so she moved NINE hours away won't be here either --she took off December 22-26 so she could be here ON Christmas.  Oh well, the best laid plans--as they say.  At least our two college babies will be here for everything!  And there will be plenty of friends and family around to help spread the proverbial Holiday Cheer.    

I knew that, at some point, we would be faced with this situation where one or two of the girls wouldn't be able to make it home for one thing or another.  But I am STILL NOT READY to join the ranks of those who celebrate the holidays without every family member being present.  I'm not bitter.  I won't be trying to make their lives miserable when they cannot make it to whatever event it is (I'm not that kind of mom and Hubs is not that kind of dad).  I'm just NOT DIGGING it!  At all!  Not one little bit!  It's CHRISTMAS for goodness sakes!  And then, I realized something else!  The ANNUAL NEW YEAR'S EVE OYSTER ROAST!  We started that one last year and it was big fun!  Two might be missing the December roast and TheTwoWhoDidNotCometotheOysterRoast might be missing Christmas Eve and Day (because they're spending it up there with his family but I'm thinking if they get you year round WE should get holidays...just saying) BUT we do have New Year's Eve!  Wait.  Oh CRAP.  TheOtherOneWhoDidNotCometotheOysterRoast will be back in DC and NOT here for that one either.  Our family is going to be split up for the FIRST TIME EVER!  This is muy UNCOOL!

Yes, there's a first time for everything.  And I'm sure we'll survive this just fine.  But no one asked me if I was ready for this.  No one told me how to prepare for this.  But, carry on we will.  And there will be decorations, and yummy Christmas goodies, and those nasty oysters that everyone else LOVES, and friends and family and HOLIDAY CHEER (the bottled kind) and gifts...

WAIT! (a bright light bulb just popped up on top of my head because this idea is fantastic!)-- If I tell them 'No showing up = no presents' do you think their plans will change? 


  1. Awwww...I haven't had this happen yet(the family being split up on holidays), but I feel that it probably will happen in the near future. I guess nothing lasts forever, dang it!

  2. I feel for you! Been there. Two years ago, we had to spend Christmas with NONE of our daughters home. Now THAT was depressing! I totally can understand your dilemma here.

  3. Been there, done that. The first year we had an empty nest, we hosted a cocktail party like real grownups.

    It's hard to get used to the kids not being home for Christmas. We only get them every other year now that both of them are married. This is the year they go to the "other" parent's homes. I deal, but I don't like it. They'll come home a day or two after Christmas, but it's not the same.

    We'll do Christmas eve with my mother-in-law, then on Christmas Day, we'll go to the movies.

  4. Hang in there, I wish I could say this first major event that the family is not together is the hardest...but it isn't..each time is hard. I think we just have to adjust to this new phase in our lives and be forever thankful that our children are happy!


  5. I know what you mean, it is hard to even "feel" christmasy when you know that it will never be the same as when they were little. With only adults in the family at this point, it kinda makes the holidays anti-climatic I guess. We have been going out to a nice dinner on Christmas Eve, then presents, then sleep in on christmas morning. Not crazy about that at all, but until the grandkids appear it will have to do.
    Hope your big doin's are wonderful!

  6. Oh my friend , not having yet been blessed with children.. I can only imagine what you are feeling. I live almost 4 hours from my family - the weather is often a factor on whether we will be together at Christmas. Snow, freezing rain just are not welcoming travel companions...

    Your Oyster Roast sounds fabulous !! HHL

  7. I'm not there yet, but I'm pretty sure it's right around the corner. That has to be quite an adjustment. It sounds to me like you have the right attitude :)


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