As each year closes, the celebration of our Savior draws family and friends close together in a Christmas-vacation-long group hug. Routines and schedules are put away, making room to gather. We bake more, decorate more, celebrate more, and give more. The focus is togetherness. Family. Community. Reuniting. Loving. I can't imagine a better way to end a year and refocus as we usher in the new.
After deciding on a date, we traversed from the north, my brother's family journeyed from the east, and we met for several days at my parent's house in the southwest. Each family welcomed a new baby boy into the fold this year, and it was the first time the nephews were introduced. Nana had endless crafts planned, much to the delight of her grandkids. On Papa's arm there always hung an endearing grandson, ever asking for a match on the wii, a tickle fight, or lego wars. There was always someone cooking or cleaning in the kitchen, nursing and reading in the living room, or building a tent in the office. I found myself welling up with tears of thankfulness and silently taking it all in.
It wasn't a choice I made ahead of time, but a moment-by-moment decision I found myself making all vacation long. A choice that felt almost involuntary, to put aside the usual I want to hang out but there are a million dishes/a mile-high pile of laundry/a neglected blog that I need to take care of first. Sure, the dishes were washed and the laundry was done in due time, but I didn't let the chores become the priority as I usually do (for fear that they would take over and overwhelm the home and myself). Had it not been for the two weeks of Christmas vacation where we were able to step outside of the ordinary, from the routine that I love so much, I would have never had the opportunity or breathing room to re-evaluate.
|Mama (my inspiration) and I|
It seemed that I had allowed myself to focus more on completion than process. Who wants to live in a pig sty? The house doesn't clean itself. Nor do the dishes or laundry. Kids, I can't play until the chores are done, and no, you can't help with my chores because I don't have enough time to teach you how and I need things to actually be clean for sanity's sake. I'll teach you how when there's more time. Except there's never more time.
As we closed 2012 (and many mugs of coffee with egg nog later), I realized the chant for this year is enfold in the process. If I wait for more time, the children will be grown and gone. Life is a process with many, many interruptions, twists, and turns. My need for completion will be found at the end of the day when I remember how often I enfolded the little ones in the everyday. How many times did I encourage? How often did I instruct with patience and love? Who did I enfold during dinner prep, weeding, gathering firewood and collecting the eggs? What did we talk about? What did they share with me about their expanding, changing, pensive lives? Did I steward the gift of sharing life with those around me well? Without forgoing the practical chores, this is my new to-do list. I would prefer to have a kid-cleaned house that improves over time and connection than each corner scrubbed clean with a frazzled disposition and little interaction with my kids to speak of. Sure, I've made this decision before. But not in this season. It looks different now. And sure, it's hard to balance it all. And of course I won't sacrifice what little "me" time I allow myself. This is how I want to live with no regrets.
I'm sharing this at Simple Lives Thursday.