This week we’ve received a handful of Christmas cards in the mail from friends and family. And each time I open one, I think to myself, “Nice work having your life together. I am so not there.” And then I laugh because sending a card is really NOT that big of a deal!
I’ve been an enemy of the yearly Christmas card for as long as I can remember. I watched my mom put so much time and energy into signing a bazillion cards with our names. And the years when she included a letter? Double the work and agony! It seemed silly to put all this time and effort into sending a seasonal note – many to our family and friends living in the same town, when we all saw one another often or were going to spend the holiday together! J and I have done Christmas cards, but he leads the effort – and I grudgingly oblige the time and funds to make one of those cutesy post cards featuring a photo. Case in point: two Christmas cards have been sent in the five married Christmases we’ve had.
So this year for Christmas, I’m focusing on enjoying my family. Watching Baby O figure out how to tear paper to open his gifts. Seeing my younger siblings play with him. Hearing the squeals of him and his two little cousins as they play at Grandpa & Grandma’s house. And taking lots of photos and videos to remember it all. That’s what I’m most looking forward to. And the food. (duh!)
I have no opposition to you all continuing to send us stories & photos of your lives. But don’t expect a Christmas card from our family. We love you all the same! It’s just…
We hope you understand.
What’s a Christmas tradition that’s overwhelming your life? Too many gifts to buy and wrap? A huge homemade meal to plan? What support do you need to take action on cutting down or cutting out this stressor in your life?
This week I went to the store and bought three things – all for my child. And I did it very quickly – because I don’t have time to look at shoes for me anymore. I stopped for a moment and thought: How did this happen? And how am I ok with this? Because I love that little booger. A lot. And an image of him in total happiness came to me: Baby O laughing when I fake sneeze.
(Well, now that that audio has totally filled your need for cute crap today…I wish I had a video of it, but as soon as I whip out a camera, he stops whatever adorable thing he’s doing and touching our really expensive camera becomes the new fascination.)
He is such a happy boy! And he is in good spirits fairly often. But if I have a hankering for that cute little laugh and it’s not coming, I have a nearly guaranteed way to get that little guy to giggle: put him in the baby swing. When O is swinging, you can sense his anticipation for the next whoosh of air, the next big push, the smile I send back his way. He loves this feeling. He is totally focused in the moment. He is laughing!! And he has let everything else go and is only experiencing the swing.
But when do I get this feeling? Do I ever?
When I was a child, there was a huge hill about a mile from our house. The neighborhood kids would all ride our bikes down there together. We’d be flying at what felt like a million miles an hour by the time we hit mid-way down. Whoops and laughter might be heard – if you were behind someone else and catching their noise in the wind. The only rough part of the whole experience was the walk back up (yes, walk – it was too steep to ride). The independence I felt on my bike was an empowering feeling, and riding down that giant hill made all my other worries (or as many worries as a 9-year-old can have) melt away.
Flash forward to today and worries abound. The health of our grandparents. A home mortgage payment. Daycare bills. Oil change appointments – and the call that your car needs about $400 worth of work done to it. (You know, most of my worries are financial.) How do I let it go? Or do I need to try harder?
Yoga tends to be a great stress reliever for me. I try to get it in a few days a week (either before Baby O wakes up or after he goes to sleep). I do it because my body always feels so achy – especially my back/neck/shoulders area. But a beautiful thing about yoga is the focus on deep breathing. As soon as you begin, you’re calmed by large amounts of oxygen entering your blood. When you’re breath slows, your mind slows. When the fury of everything going in my world is forced to slow, I can choose to take a break from those never-ending concerns and rejuvenate – for my own personal health. It’s not quite the same feeling as flying down a huge hill on your bike, but it does chill me out (well, that and wine).
After I reflected a bit longer on how to totally relax, I realized the same strategy that works for baby O works for me: laughter. I feel lighter when I laugh because something hilarious my husband tells me (nearly a daily occurrence; he really he is my balance to be more like Mary), watching baby O do an accidental somersault while losing his balance as he learns to be a more stable walker, and those few precious moments with dear girl friends when we can gab, giggle, and rejuvenate one another. So here’s to my reminder this week about the one of the best things of life: enjoying laughter. And wine. There should always be wine.
Are you swinging enough? Do you do something that triggers your laughter and ability to relax? Please share! I need help, people!
Itʼs a miracle – and just in time for Christmas. I have successfully electronically organized and named all my photos – and backed them up online. Say what!?! In honor of this joyous occasion, Iʼm here to declare a couple new phrases:
Martha-d: the state of killinʼ it by getting some ginormous project done that has been hanging over your head for a ridiculous time period
Maryʼd: the state of killinʼ it by resting, relaxing, and spending time taking care of your own well-being – and not feeling guilt over it
Not that Iʼm competitive or keeping score…but here are some ways I both Martha-d and Mary-d it this week. (I’ll let you guess which action is inspired by which sister.)
J and I bought nearly all our Christmas gifts – online – in two hours. And shipped free to our house next week. While baby O won’t be getting a new bike, I do hope some other gifts we have will be as exciting as my face from a former Christmas. (And why don’t I still have that troll tie-dye sweatshirt?!)
I beat J and his parents in Scrabble. But mostly J, by like a 50 point margin. (Ok, that’s not really Martha-d or Mary-d, but I had to brag to someone and remind J of my awesomeness.)
We had a wood-burning fire going in the fireplace nearly all day Friday and Sunday – that we ran out of wood in the box and refilled it with more from the backyard rack. (Oh! A Mary AND Martha accomplishment! Double win!)
J and I went out on two lunch dates within one week! And we prayed before eating at both. It makes me really miss us praying together. We need to prioritize that! (Insert new Martha task to find a way to include it our daily life.)
My parents helped us power wash/clean our shower doors, and J recaulked the shower. (Ok, so he Martha’d it there, but I feel like it was a win for me too. Yea for using our own master bath shower again!)
I went out to a birthday breakfast with my boys and had a great time letting Baby O try crepes, I got to drink hot chai, and J had at least three different breakfast pastries (aka this man’s expectation of breakfast of heaven).