I know it’s been a while since my last post. In my defense, I have been very busy running here, there, and everywhere. It’s just that time of year. Plus, I’m sure none of you reading this have been sitting on pins and needles anxiously awaiting my next blog as I’m sure you have been very busy yourselves (and that first part of the statement is probably truer than I really want to admit). But I wanted to take a couple of minutes to talk about that very thing.
My family has had something every weekend since Thanksgiving. Seriously. We had Thanksgiving at my family’s and at my in-laws. The next weekend began the Christmas get-togethers. We had one for my father-in-law’s family the first weekend in December. One for my mother-in-law’s family the second weekend. One for a branch further up the in-laws’ tree this last weekend. And, of course, this weekend is Christmas so I’ve been running and trying to finish up the shopping. I’ve cooked (or thrown something edible together) for all of these gatherings. And I’ve tried to work full-time in an accounting job where we are getting ready for the end of the year. I don’t feel like I’ve stopped for the last 5 weeks, and I have several more weeks to go.
See New Year’s weekend is my baby son’s 5th birthday so we have to have a party. And take down the Christmas tree. And clean for the party and after the party, and even during the party since we’re talking about 5-year-olds. I’m tired just thinking about it. Then, very shortly after that, my oldest son will turn 8. Another party. Then Valentine’s Day. See? My life is one chaotic sprint from one weekend to the next from Thanksgiving through the middle of February. I look forward to church on Sunday just so I HAVE to sit down for 2 hours. But, I must confess, even there I’m still thinking of all I have to do at home and at work.
It’s hard to enjoy the holidays when you rush around that much. Your details may be different, but I bet your holidays are just as hectic and stressful. I think next year, I’m going to say, “No. I’m sorry, but this year I’m going to slow down and do more with my little family unit and cut back on the stress. I want to ENJOY my kids while they’re still little.”
And when I think of other people, it makes me even more determined to do that. Because as hectic and stressful and fast-paced and exhausting as everything is, I still have my family. I have a friend going through a divorce right now. Divorce is stressful enough, but during Christmas? Wow! She has two little girls. I can only imagine how empty her new place is going to feel when they go to their dad’s for the holiday. How quiet it’s going to be without their squeals of laughter (and bickering as sisters do). How HUGE that little place is going to feel with just my friend at home. It makes me want to hug her close and tell her, it WILL be alright.
And it makes me want to quit griping about everything I have to do. As much as I want to hide in a corner away from my bickering, loud, whining boys, even more she is going to want to squeeze both of her little girls in her lap at once and not let go.
Perspective. It’s all about perspective.
So next year, I’m going to say, “NO.” We’re going to do less running and more playing. Less dread and more anticipation. Less exasperation and more laughter. We’re going to sing carols and drink hot chocolate and decorate the tree. We may even skip Christmas cards all together. Who would really even notice that we didn’t send one? Do you go down your friends list and check off the people that sent you one? I don’t. I’m going to embrace the Good points of not being noticed and take full advantage of it. I going to listen to my husband tell my boys The Real Christmas story and help him answer hard questions about how that baby boy of Mary’s managed to sleep with that prickly hay poking him in the backside. I’m going to make up stories about flying reindeer (I certainly don’t understand how they do it, do you?) and bluff my way through teleportation explanations of how Santa manages to be everywhere at once (after all, Santa is not God and so he has to travel).
I’m going to hug my boys more and try to remember how much I love them when they are whining about “He hit me!” and “He won’t give me my toy!” and resist the urge to write Santa and tell him just how naughty my two have been for the last 51 weeks!
I’m going to embrace the Love that is supposed to be present in this Season and try to keep it from being buried under all of the hustle and bustle and commercialism we all get sucked into.
Or maybe I won’t wait. Maybe I’ll quit answering the phone and just stay home all weekend with my husband and two boys and think about what Christmas Really Means.
Merry Christmas to all of you. I hope you have a Really Good Holiday. Think of those less fortunate than you — not just the underprivileged and homeless, but the ones like my friend who are spending this weekend (or part of the weekend) alone for the first time whether from divorce or maybe a loss. If nothing else, try to remember to say a prayer for them. They need it. I love you all.