Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…

I have quite a few things on my mind.
Between the nagging suspicion that I have forgotten something important for the upcoming holiday festivities and the bubbling stress at work, I am having a hard time settling down into a ten day vacation.
I keep ticking off in my mind – gifts sent…check; gift allocation for children taken care of… god, I hope so; outgoing mail to prospective students…check. And so on. Christmas is the day after tomorrow and I don't care. How sad is that? I just don't care. I can't even pull together ideas for that special Christmas dinner.
Let me temper some of that whining with what I also know: I'm a little tired – maybe even a tad bored – with Christmas as I know it. At this particular moment in time I can't quite get too excited about all the fuss that surrounds this massively consumer oriented holiday. What I am looking forward to is my sister coming over for a glass of wine and quiet conversation. I'm looking forward to breakfast with Andy and the kids, and having coffee with my dad on Christmas morning. A little snow would be nice along with a fire in the heath – but beyond that – I'm good for the holiday.
I am not a Christian although I have a healthy respect for the teachings of the man known as Jesus. I know his birth day is not really December 25th but I love celebrating the coming of the light that marks the winter solstice and appreciate how perfect the metaphor is for many religious traditions that happen during this time of year. Christmas has never been a day of faith for me which is why, I'm sure, I have struggled with its trappings for so many years. The day is about family and yes, gift giving. The month of December is about baking and nestling in for the winter ahead. It doesn't surprise me that the holidays are all about pulling together and celebrating new life and hope – here in the Northwest when it gets dark at 4:30pm, the long winter nights make me want to embrace what is truly important - love, togetherness and sustenance.
The years of watching children's eyes widen with delight as they gaze longingly at all those colorfully wrapped presents are in the past for me. Crafting holiday traditions and fun filled memories are no longer things I want on my task list. I simply want to have fun-filled memories with people that I love. I want that sustenance I mentioned. I don't mind going through some of the traditional motions because I still have one child living at home and I don't care how much she rolls her eyes – I know that Christmas tree still matters to her.
I am quite sure that my lack of enthusiasm is directly related to working full time, having kids home and feeling pulled in many different directions as I try to be mom, wife, daughter, employee, director and domestic slave. The ebb and flow of my energy is directly proportional to how I feel about the upcoming holiday weekend. I doubt this will be the case in all the future years to come.
And so here is what I am telling myself: be present with where I am today and watch for those moments of joy.
Blessings and light to all.

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