As with most of us, the weeks in between Thanksgiving and the holly jolly holiday can be likened to either a sausage or a can of sardines; in either case too much is constrained in far too small of a space.
Work demands seemed to ratchet instead of dwindle and we lost a bright shining star long before he should have ever gone shooting across the sky. Losing a dear and trusted colleague is never easy, and especially the peak of the season.
On the home front we switched from cleats to high tops and a whole new game schedule. I really need the coaches to check with me before signing up our team for extra scrimmages and tournaments.
As such, it was a push to get Christmas on the table, so speak. A naked tree stood vulnerable in my living room for too many days before it finally got it’s well earned bling and blitz. The flour and sugar and mixer remain tucked away in cabinets this year and I did not support the US Postal service this go-round….
(I was kind of feeling like the elf who barely made it in for the night and just kind of hanging on….)
…and the gift list was whittled and all through the house; this nearly bah-humbug mama slowly began to exhale.
An almost stolen (but not) purse, a few unusual conversations and all the requisite daily pushes and pulls, and the edges began to fray. I found myself needing to respond to a particular situation, make an important decision, and I realized that I felt so far from center. So far from my own self that finding the inner voice of reason and the all-important gut check seemed akin to the journey to the center of the earth; a really long way away.
Last night, kiddo and I spent the evening with dear and long time friends who came into town for the holiday. To help welcome them, the friend hosting them also hosted an evening gathering with friends and family who also wanted to be with them. There we were, the atypically warm December night found the women gathered on the generous front porch sipping wine and talking like there is no tomorrow, the kids running free between basement and front yard and the men tossing back a few beers in the kitchen. And of course, any mix and mingle of all peppered the evening. Before I knew it, jackets and santa hats donned, wine glasses re-filled, we walked the neighborhood which some would liken to a modern day Mayberry and took in the light strewn homes, horse-drawn carriages transporting families and friends doing the same as us, and pick-up trucks filled with carolers. As we walked, conversations were easy, natural and changing depending on who walked next to whom. Kids ran front, center and in between.
At one moment, while I had the three biggest kids in my reach, I let them go ahead a bit, and ahead of them were the smalls and other adults. I hung back, I lingered, wine in hand, and took it all in.
I exhaled deeper. A lot deeper.
Bright lights in my periphery. People I love in direct view.
Cheerful sounds filling the air.
A sip of my wine.
This. This right here. This is Christmas. I exhaled fully and smiled.
I caught up to my kiddo and draped an arm around his shoulders, not far below my own now, and said, this is good, eh? We are good. We get this. He was quiet and I said, this is a moment to just be.
This morning, as I woke, I thought of last night.
I realized. That was a little bit of coming back to center.
Merry Christmas. Holly Jolly Holiday. Blessings.
My wish for you, each of you, is that moment to just be.
To exhale. To find center.
Peace & Joy