Saturday, Dec. 18th, 2010

Well, hellooooo. . .   (doesn’t even remotely sound like Mrs. Doubtfire in print.)

I’m on the first day of my 2 week Christmas break.  Can you spell relief?  I spell it:  r-e-d w-i-n-e and B-a-i-l-e-y-‘s.  Oh yes, every day.  Ha,ha,ha,ha. . .

I’m feeling very proud of myself — I’ve got nearly all my shopping done (just one or two hard to find things still to get) AND I’ve even started wrapping!  I swear to all that is holy I will not spend my Christmas Eve wrapping this year.  I will be drinking eggnog laced with spiced rum and bawling over A Wonderful Life.  I promise myself this.

Well, I’ve done something kind of unconventional and maybe a tad selfish this year.  I’ve decided not to put up a Christmas tree.  Gasp!  Tim and I usually put up a HUGE tree — this has caused untold arguments in past years, but not this year.

One of my reasons for not putting up a tree this year is the fact that neither of us was going to be around much to see and enjoy it.  And, it takes about 6 hours to decorate and I could barely find the time to breathe lately, let alone decorate a tree.  Then there was the fact that we weren’t entertaining AT ALL this season, so why have a tree if no one else would see it?  Then, there’s the fact that my grandkids would not be coming over to see it, either (we’re going to their house on Christmas Day)  and that pretty much sealed the deal.

I miss the sparkly lights, the ornaments that I’ve spent 31 years collecting and the lovely, fresh smell of newly cut pine, but there is next year to look forward to, and really, Christmas is about the feelings and memories we hold in our hearts, it’s not about things — which is all a tree really is in the end.

I’ve dug out the precious hand-made ornaments and cards my son made — these are the most important to me — and I’ve got them on display — so I’m happy in my little moments of wistful remembrance.  I can indulge myself with a few tears, smile and move on.  That’s what life, love and memories is all about.  Reliving, but not forgetting to live in the moment.

I feel, this year, that I’ve moved into a different phase in my Christmas-life.  Some switch has been thrown and I find myself less stressed than I’ve ever been.  I love Christmas, really love all that it stands for, but in the past I’ve always allowed myself to get bogged down with expectations.  Usually self-created.

This year none of that matters.  I made a list of all the baking I intended to do, went out and bought all the ingredients, and then, because I realized that I was essentially going to be doing it for nothing put it all away.  No hard feelings.  I’ll enjoy other people’s baking.  And I won’t have tons of it sitting around my kitchen enticing me to get fat.

Then, there’s the tree decision.

Also, I gave up all the angst that seems to come from trying to squeeze everyone in for a visit.  The guilt that follows if you think you’ve forgotten someone, or not tried hard enough to work a schedule that accommodates everyone else’s.  We’ll see people when we see them.  If it’s not during Christmas it will be in the New Year.  We’ll plan lovely, leisurely evenings where we can actually pay full attention to the details we’ve missed.

And I continue to practice my daily gratefulness ritual.  Each day, especially over these past couple of difficult weeks, I’ve reminded myself of all that I have to be grateful for.  And, this, more than anything else is what I believe in my heart has contributed to this new sense of calm with which I approach this holiday season.

Maybe being less frenetic, less frazzled makes me less interesting, but I sure like this me a lot more than the one who worried over every little detail to the point of misery.

Christmas is about love — I get it.

Wishing everyone lots of love for the holidays.  Now go be happy and make merry!

Some of the things for which I am always grateful:


Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

First off, I want to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and words.  Katie’s death was hard on all of us — she was too young, had gone through so many hardships in the time she had — and, although I like to think I’m all tough and practical — her death had a pretty sobering effect on me.  She was not MY student, not even in my classroom, but I saw her everyday, spoke to her everyday, helped her with various aspects of school life over the past three years and so she was a part of my working life.  She is missed, but as with all things, especially death, time does not wait, and we have gotten on with the business of living.

I’m going to need to open a new post in order to keep writing.

Again, many thanks to you all.

Looking towards thankfulness