Ed: After we were engaged, we wanted to get to know each other’s families better. We looked for opportunities to spend time with them. A few days before Christmas, we’d drive to New York City to celebrate Christmas Eve with Leonor’s family. On Christmas Day, we’d fly from New York City to Puerto Rico to see my side of the family. This became our tradition for over 10 years.
Leonor: One day, our 6-year-old son, Jordan, called a family meeting. He wondered why we didn’t stay home and have Christmas like he saw in the movies, where kids came down the stairs in pajamas early that morning to find presents under the tree.
Ed: We were stunned. We didn’t know what to say. We had never looked at it from his point of view. We made a decision then to try staying home. We started by celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus at the Christmas Eve vigil at our parish. Afterwards, we went home, had hot chocolate, read our sons a story and put them to bed.
Leonor: On Christmas morning, we heard excited footsteps coming down the stairs. The boys jumped on our bed to wake us. Their faces glowed with happiness as they saw the presents under the tree. We opened gifts slowly, stopping to play games and work on puzzles together and share stories. As their gift to us, the boys made simple meals like pizza. It was very relaxing and fun.
Ed: Ever since then, “Christmas pajama day” has been a time to strengthen our family bond. This year, we welcome our son’s new fianc√©e, Sarah. She’ll bring her pajamas, and the four of us will introduce her to our traditions and create new ones that joyfully include our new lovely daughter-in-law to be.
Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera are members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community. To learn more about Worldwide Marriage Encounter, visit www.wwme.org. To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit https://catholiccourier.com/viewpoints/blogs/to-have-and-to-hold.