Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Finding the Merry


Congratulations...

The winner of the David Crowder Band "Oh for Joy" album is Kristin Smith.

I loved hearing all about your favorite carols and songs for this season; it seems that for all of us, music is both a heart and memory aid.

.   .   .   .

It's been a crazy few weeks around here. The prof has been travelling and doing a ton of project work  which translates to I've been going it alone since he went to Spain in October; hopefully  this will change in the next few weeks so he may actually enjoy the holiday. I've been searching for a new dance studio for the chicks loooong story where their hearts as well as there feet will find joy. Christmas decisions, shopping, ordering, wrapping and then sending have been a solo experience USPS is a super fun place to stand in line for an hour. Add all of this to the normal homeschooling, wife/mother duties, bill paying and house maintaining and I've not felt a whole lot like myself lately. I've not felt very merry.


All that said, I know I'm not alone. Most women experience pieces of all the above during Christmas. Single, married, kids or not, we feel responsible for making sure the merry is in the Christmas. 


We expect too much of ourselves.


We watched our mothers pull it all together seemingly with small effort. The homemade cookies, beautifully decorated fresh-cut tree, lights on every outdoor bush.


I'm not that mother.  Neither was my mother, although she did do most of those things very well and appeared to be so to the outside world.


My mom baked and decorated well into the early hours of the day. Everything was from scratch. She was our room mother, painting ornaments with Santa faces for our classmates and organizing elaborate parties back in the day when public school allowed them. Our tree was perfect. Every light just so. The exterior of our little home was inviting and well lit and no bulb needed replacing.  But inside?  We were on edge and it wasn't something out of a Hallmark channel movie. My parents were often at each other, the dog ate any and all toys we left on the floor and the peed by the door when she didn't get enough attention, and sometimes it took four tries to get the homemade pie crust right.

I work at NOT replicating my Christmas memories for my children. 


My goal here in the nest is to create some merry.


Instead of baking I head to our local spot for goodies. I'm sure the mixer will get pulled out at some point in the near future for a batch of shortbread cookie making, but until the schedule clears I'm not going to stress about perfection and home-baked goodness. If I stay up trying to be the one who always gets it done, I'm half the mother/wife/teacher I need to be in the morning. I've learned that downtime is as important, if not more so, than confectionery goodness. I can pay a bit more to create that for our family.

I ordered almost all of the gifts online this year. There was no perusing of the shelves or walking miles from the car to the store. I didn't do it. I did miss being out and having comparison choices in front of me, but the whole find, order, arrive at the door concept was incredibly attractive. Note to self: purchase cookies for the poor postman who keeps running up to my door and ringing the bell to announce the arrival of gifts.


My girls lament the fact that we've not decorated outdoors. I usually hang roping garland strung with lights the length of the wrap-around porch. Sigh. On this one, I feel a bit bad, but when given the choice between three hours spent on outdoor decorating and that same period being used for catching up on history with the grace girl, it's history any day of the week. We've got an incredibly challenging curriculum in Omnibus 1 -- The Odyssey  and the complete Narnia series are on tap this month. It takes time and patience, and those are two things I'd rather give to my babe than the lights and evergreen boughs.

All that being said, our home was full decorated by mid-November. We've enjoyed Christmas cookies, lights hung on garland which hangs from the banister, a lovely tree, and plenty of carols and cocoa.  I work on making memories with my babes that will last, that are free from stressed undertones and harsh words. I've work on putting the merry back in Christmas, even it means that some of the what's traditionally included looks to be missing this year.

But that which seems to be missing? It's all in the eye of the beholder.


I encourage you to find some merry and stop lamenting the missing...to figure out traditions that work for you and your family...to give up a little perfect and find a lot of joy.


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