Monday, December 26, 2011

The Light and The Smiles

There is so much building up, so much anticipation in the days that lead up to Christmas. There was a time when I let it build, and build, like I was staging for a one time only event. Ahead of the main event, there were a lot of moments and opportunities that I was sort of failing to fully recognize, and appreciate. Trying to juggle and balance it all, to hold my celebrating in check for the big day, left me feeling exhausted-frazzled, and inevitably super-deflated the very next day. I remember thinking: all that? And now it's over?

Some mistakes, and misguided notions, I seem doomed to live with forever, but I like what I've learned about holidays. I no longer separate the hustle and bustle, the anticipation and planning from The Day. I no longer try to micro-manage and orchestrate (as much?) and I let packages go without bows, and the tree sit awkwardly on the front porch, or middle of the room. Christmas dinner? Oops... I didn't think of it, so we had meatloaf (frozen from a month ago,) and I made Iron Man Pasta, Trader Joe's spanakopita, salad, spaghetti, and we roasted chestnuts. (Are chestnuts supposed to taste like that?) Dinner was weird, random, and filling. Instead of matching individual gifts with every friend, I opened the doors and shared time, and space. And like I said before, I felt ready, and engaged all along, and far less anxious, worried, fretful, worn-out.

Yeah. So just thinking on all that, today. The day after. Guess what? The house looks imploded! We forgot batteries. Geoff is on his way to work. Chango barfed, again. Maria's hair has a huge snarl that is sure to bring her to tears when I brush it out. My birthday plans are tanked. The laundry never did succumb to my will, and we have had an awesome Christmas. Amazing. Full, delightful, spiritually filling, and blessed. And it does not feel "all over," or "anticlimactic." And I don't feel in the least, "eager to be done with it." For the light and the smiles, it's all so dearly worthwhile.

I attribute some of this energy reserve and gratitude to...
1. Knowing how to pace myself, finally!
2. Four children who enjoy the moments, who share, who love laughter above all else
3. A high tolerance for messes and chaos... let's face it, it really helps!
4. Unbelievably sweet friends and family, who have made the most amazing gestures of kindness and generosity possible... words, sincerest reflections of thoughts and sentiments, gifts, embraces, time, companionship, art, creativity, warmth.

I am bursting with gratitude, and astonishment, and a wondrous sensation of awakening to more love than I had known was there... and like I shared with James, I do not want to say anything... I might break the spell.

I am speechless.

Isn't it funny when people say "I'm speechless," and then they go on, and say more?

Truly, I am speechless. Almost, wordless too.

Merry December 26th, and thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.


Miriam said...

This reminds me of one of my favourite quotes: "There is no way to happiness. Happiness IS the way." Which I sort of interpret as "I would be wrong if I thought getting the laundry done and the house picked up and the trim painted were going to bring me peace and love in my heart tomorrow. It's living with peace and love in my heart TODAY that's important." You teach me a lot about that, about not letting worry and lists and obligations get in the way of time with family, and community, and creativity, and joy. So I say, #@$!! the laundry!

ArtyZen said...

I have really shared the feeling that this Christmas has been a journey, not an arrival. Ours has been somewhat random, totally unstressful, just full of fun and space to enjoy ourselves. Love the happy faces on the sofa!
Happy Boxing Day to you all.

judy in ky said...

I don't care if there is laundry waiting and chaos and messes... you have it all together! The happiness shines through.

nikkipolani said...

I think Maria's grin in that second photo says it all. Glad you had a wonderful evening together.

Kim said...

So glad you had a truly merry Christmas!

Anna Banana said...

So sorry about Kamen. Sending lots of love.

Jennifer said...

I so love this. It's so true, isn't it, that embracing it ALL, and not just The Day, makes for so much more wonderfulness -- as does remembering what's important to kids is a whole 'other list from what's *important* to adults, and it has nothing to do with what's for dinner or whether the house is ready for a magazine shoot or whatever. LOVE that you loved your Christmas, but worried about the lack of plans for tomorrow -- can we do something about that?