Thursday, December 17, 2009

8 more days...

more days until christmas...

…and our Household is in a frenzied state of excitement. The kids are dutifully counting down the days on our kitchen chalkboard and just as dutifully, eating their chocolates from their Advent Calendars every morning after breakfast. That reason alone would make Christmas awesome for them – being allowed to eat chocolate for breakfast totally rocks!

As for me, I am trying really hard to savor the moments of the season as much as possible this year. I try to every year, but then it seems like Christmas is over before I know it and the Holiday Season seemed like it was more rushed than savored. So this year I really want to make the effort to just slow down every once in a while and fill my heart with the true Spirit of the Season. I’m trying to be more present in the moment and let my heart be opened by the love and blessings that are all around me – on a more consistent basis.

The past few years have been such a whirlwind and I have had a really hard time adjusting to life with three children. I always wanted three kids and I love them all more than anything – I’m not complaining – I know I am incredibly blessed - it’s just that the arrival of the third child was an adjustment that somehow just threw me for such a loop. I didn’t anticipate that life would become such pure and utter craziness and I feel like life is passing by in a blur.

So I constantly need to try and remind myself to slow down – smell the roses – appreciate these moments – in all their sweet and sometimes flawed glory, because they are so fleeting when the children are young. I must try to love it all, even after I repeat myself over ten times in the morning for every request I make: Put on your shoes; Brush your hair; Put on your coat; Where has your backpack disappeared to? Did you not have a sweatshirt on a minute ago? Where on earth could it have gone to in 60 seconds? For the 11th time- PLEASE Put On Your Shoes….by 7.45am I feel like its around midnight already and the day is still a puppy…

So, in this vein, I am trying to be more mindful and organized so that I do not leave all the Christmas stuff to the last minute, leaving me stressed out and overwhelmed. I want my heart to be full of the Spirit of Christmas – so that my real gift this holiday season can be the gift of my time and attention and love. Especially to my family and friends, but to every one whose path I cross this month. I can at least try.

So in the afternoons once the kids are home from school, I have been making the effort to really give them my full attention when we spend time together – be it reading a book, playing a game or completing homework etc. I know that is something that I should do everyday, but the reality is that there are times while I am reading them a story, that I am also thinking of my 1000 item To Do List, or thinking about what to prepare for dinner, or any one of the countless other things that are constantly swirling around ‘upstairs’.

And so this afternoon, after I asked them each to choose a Christmas book that they wanted to re-read and we were all snuggled up on the couch reading the books and chatting and laughing, my heart felt full and happy. Just the simplest act of giving them my full, undivided attention was very rejuvenating. It recharged my batteries and I could tell that they really appreciated the time together as much as I did. It is such a cheesy cliché, but just being present with whoever you are with, is truly the greatest gift. One that I must strive to do more often.

So, on that note, I am feeling good about things so far this Season. I am trying to give the gift of a loving presence to my family each day and my Christmas To Do List is in good shape. I have crossed off the big things on the list, and the latest item to get a strike through was Christmas Cards – which is a lengthy and time consuming process involving multiple steps. The first of which is going out and taking our Annual Family Christmas Card Photo. So on the weekend we went out to a very snowy spot and took some family portraits, and then got some fun shots of the snowball fight that followed. I then designed the Christmas Card, printed them out and they are mostly signed, sealed and out the door, with a Christmas poem written by yours truly included.

Admittedly, I didn’t have much time to spend on the design or on the Christmas poem – *mental note: November is a good time to start thinking about such things* – not so much mid-December, especially when many of our Christmas card recipients are based around the globe and time is of the essence if the card is to actually be received by Christmas. But I am not focusing on what I coulda shoulda done this year – rather, I am reveling in a To Do list that is slowly but surely being completed.

Another huge relief is that I think I have all the Christmas presents on my list taken care of – there are just one or two still left to finish, but that is completely do-able. Of course, I still need to wrap the gifts for the kids from Santa – we don’t give the kids Christmas Presents from ourselves – they only get presents from Santa (and of course they get some gifts from family and friends) so there are less than a handful of gifts per child to wrap, so that will not be too time consuming - but I must avoid the temptation to do it at the last minute. 11.55pm on Christmas Eve usually sees me in a frenzied state of Christmas present wrapping, with a tired and weary wrapping assistant husband trying to add some humor to my last minute chaotic-ness.)

So here’s to 8 more days of Christmas Spirit, days that are hopefully filled with love and joyful giving from the heart…my husband would especially appreciate that right now…and hopefully it will become a mindful habit to bring into the New Year.

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