holiday haze

I feel confident saying I must not be the only one feeling like we suddenly whooshed right into the holidays. Maybe it was the later than usual Thanksgiving or the busier schedules or the trip we are planning in late January (that's probably what it is), but I feel like I got hit with a hay bale of tinsel all at once on December 1st. We suddenly had a tree and gift lists and a whole lot of "holiday things to do with the kids" that we really haven't done much of yet.

With a first grader and a preschooler, the season is bright and full and my kids are so stinking excited for Christmas that I cannot wait, yet in my heart I am begging it all to please just slow down already because this feeling is so short lived and why is that? I could sit and stare at our amazing tree all night with a cup of cocoa and music. I run my hand carefully down the garland on the stairs, my fingers tripping over the string of red garland the kids strung through it. There is a feeling you get this time of year and I am trying extra hard to cherish it.

Our town had their Tree Lighting a week ago and it was unfortunately very rainy. We planned ahead and had dinner out together at the restaurant beside the festivities, but found ourselves strolling over to a quirky little bookstore I adore in town instead of standing under umbrellas. Santa was in residence that night and 10% of the sales for the evening went to the Food Cupboard. Connor was NOT having anything to do with Santa, but brave Caroline approached him eagerly, wide grin, eyes bright. She was thrilled, until he asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she had no idea. It was like "A Christmas Story" and I could picture that Santa suggesting a football, only in this version he offered a doll. She nodded her head and looked at me full of anxiety. She could not remember a single thing and despite my best efforts, I couldn't remember a single thing either. We collectively started piecing together a couple items, but wow, for a kid who pokes me in the side during EVERY commercial signaling that yes, she wants that too, this was shocking.

I have started digging into the archives here to find out what gifts we have given the kids in the past to answer questions about what gift for an x year old girl or boy. I'll admit I even look back for my own niece and nephew because what did we give our nearly 12 month old in 2007???

So here - for the me of the future searching for an item for a preschool boy or a first grade girl...

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Ranges, Super Heroes, Hess Truck, Playmobil, Legos, and those "sports guys in a bucket"

Books, anything animal related, Friends Legos, American Girl accessories of ALL kinds, Barbie, and MORE BOOKS

The holiday isn't about stuff. It shouldn't be, but it inevitably is. I have to admit that we are going above and beyond what we have ever done before this year and somehow neither of them has a "big" gift. I think Steve and I both keep saying, "ok stop spending," and then we don't. (in truth, he says stop, I don't, but he doesn't stop me.) With all that has happened in this crazy world they are growing up in this past year, those precious moments of pure joy on December 25th might actually sustain me the whole year through and I want them to have a magical Christmas morning. Judging by his reaction to a recent holiday party present in which he SCREAMED in joy, Connor is going to be especially fun to watch.

This week I am feeling a bit lost. I am staring at the 14th on my weekly planner and my heart sinks. I find I am living more for today, less for tomorrow, and fighting to just do what I might otherwise push aside. I am trying to choose time with them over finishing my work. I am learning to accept help from others. Steve addressed and stuffed all the holiday cards this year. I let him do this and if you know me, this was truly difficult for me to let go. He offered to help and I let him, sounds simple, but isn't and when those cards were stacked and sealed I breathed a holiday sigh of relief and my heart was full of gratitude. I work very hard to ensure that my children know there are loved, not just by saying it (which I do countless times a day), but through my actions. I know I am ok because they ask me to snuggle them close. Connor's greatest joy is getting all of us together into one big family hug in someone's bed. We are tight close family unit and I want that to sustain for always. We are overscheduled, exhausted, hard working parents. We do the best we can and I think we are doing alright, so long as they know how much we love them. This weekend will be hard, but I am grateful to have the time with my partner in this crazy life and my littles the whole weekend through. I will remember, I will say a prayer, I will think of Caroline, I will cherish every moment with my family and though my heart will ache, I must continue to find the joy in this magical season for my own family. Through is the only way.


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