Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Finding Christmas

I'm having a mid-life Christmas crisis. It started about four years ago and has left me searching for something that's missing.

At first, I blamed economics. I was worried that I couldn't afford enough presents for Marc and Nate.

Then I blamed time. I didn't have enough hours in a day to bake all the cookies I needed to bake, wrap all the presents in a glorious creative way, build gingerbread houses, watch plays, see the Christmas movies, look at Christmas lights, decorate the house, and on and on and on...

Then I blamed the retailers. They start putting Christmas stuff out in September ...what the heck! And it's so buy buy.

Then I blamed the weather. It hasn't snowed enough. It's too warm. It's too rainy.

And then, I tried to "fake it till I make it." Turn on the Chritsmas music, talk about Christmas being my favorite season, bake the cookies, eat the meals, buy the presents, decorate the house....

And it sort of worked. Mostly.

But then this year came. And I realized that because of the way our parenting agreement works, I don't have the boys any weekend in December. I also don't have them on Christmas Eve and I only get them from 9 to 6 on Christmas Day. To say my Christmas spirit was lacking would be an understatement.

In full crisis mode, I do what I usually do - evaluate and adjust. . .

  • So I dared not to spend every weekend baking like it was the end of the world. 
  • I dared not try and churn out the most perfect sugar cookies that look like the ones I see on Pinterest. 
  • I dared not blow three months wages on gifts. 
  • I dared not to wrap every single present like it could be featured on the front of Marsha Stewart Living.
  • I dared not pour over every ad looking for the best deal on all the best gadgets. 

And instead I took a deep breath, looked inside, and decided to go with the flow! The result was an amazing Christmas!

Marcus, Morgan, and Nate make peanut butter balls.
I ended up baking but I baked with purpose. (Read on, but grab a tissue)....My oldest son Marcus lost his best friend Mason the beginning of November in an awful accident. It's been tough on Marc but even tougher on this beautiful family. Mason leaves behind a loving mother, a dedicated father, and a little brother who is now essentially an only child. As you can imagine, they are struggling with Christmas this year. Marcus asked if we could help. Unsure what could help with this tragedy, I offered the thing I So Friday night, Morgan (the little brother) stayed the night with us and we treated him like family. We got up Saturday and made sugar cookies, candies, fudge, peanut butter balls and the boys threw themselves into baking like they never have before. Marc and Nate were both on a mission to help Mason feel like he was their brother and to help him with some Christmas spirit. I didn't worry how things looked - we just tried to lighten Morgan's spirits.

I thought it might help and it really did, if only for a moment. Plus mom and dad were thrilled to have a bit of extra time to shop. We sent them home with a huge plate of cookies and cookies to share with others. I was left with great admiration for Marc. Marc has stepped up to help the family through. Morgan calls Marc when he's sad and needs someone to talk to. Marcus has become a "brother" in a way and I'm proud of him for it. I believe Mason is looking down happy Marcus is helping.

Our tins we delivered
We filled little tins with peanut butter balls, fudge, cocoa, and cocoa sprinkles (marshmallows and sprinkles). I delivered them to a few people I wanted to really thank for being in my life.

Nate wearing his new robe and playing
his new kindle fire.

We got the kids the presents they asked for but not all of them. We set a budget and stuck to it. Of course, all weekend I resisted the urge to run out and buy more. But I'm glad I didn't. The kids loved their gifts, they didn't hit that wall of overload where they have so much they've resorted to "auto-pilot present opening." They loved loved loved their gifts and it was awesome to see them actually using them. 
Christmas Eve movie time with Alex, Zach, and Emily

We spent time around the table eating together as a family. Talking about our plans, what we'd been up to, how life was treating us. 

We watched movies as a family. 

Marcus models his new coat and boots
We oooooh-ed and aaaaaaa-ed over each others presents and giggled when we looked silly.

We sat in the same room, playing games, eating food, and just plain hanging out. 

We told stories of great Christmas-es past. Talked about what we wanted to do in the upcoming year. 

We hugged and laughed. 

And most importantly, we celebrated what's really important.....

Family, friends, faith, hope, and love.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. 

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