So Much.. a little late

Thanksgiving was last week. In all honesty (is there even another option for me??) I really wasn’t looking forward to the holiday. Growing up it was my favorite – even over Christmas. But since having my own family, three kids back to back to back and having both sides of our family all living here in the same town, well, to say the least this holiday got really hectic really fast.

It was hard going to both families houses on the same day, carting diaper bags and pack n’ plays, whining toddlers who missed their naps, nursing babies in between fixing plates, while keeping an eye on the ones who were running around stealing food off of strangers plates. Not to mention fixing food for both dinners and then remembering to bring it! (One year, I actually forgot to make the food. The thought never even entered my mind!) It was stressful. Not enjoyable. Why was this called a holiday??

It has been difficult for us to find a balance. No one forces us to participate in both Thanksgiving dinners on the same day. No one threatened us. People have made suggestions like: Just pick one! or Thanksgiving one year, Christmas the next! But that is so hard to do.

For some reason, this Thanksgiving was different. I’d like to say it was because of my attitude. That I woke up with a smile on my face and a skip in my step! That’s doubtful. Or that the stress magically disappeared like it seems to do in Martha Stewart’s magazines. Or that I chose to see the blessings in the midst of chaos.

No, I think it was just easier this year. Easier because the kids are easier. They have become more independent, more pleasant, and they don’t need naps! This year I was actually able to enjoy my dinner without 27 interruptions (literally). I think I even went back for seconds. And going to the second family’s house for dinner was fun too. It was relaxed. There was good conversation. The kids had a blast.

It wasn’t until a couple of mornings later that I realized what a good time I had. As I looked back on the day I was hit with how truly blessed I am. And I was thankful.

I stood back, still in my pajamas, and just watched my kids. I wish I could remember what they were doing now, but what I do remember is how blessed I felt. My heart was so full at that moment, I thought it would burst.

Thanksgiving Day had come and gone without me even realizing how truly thankful I am.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the actual holiday and making it perfect. The pressure we put on ourselves as parents and the natural pressure that comes from having kids can choke us. I think I have been choking. Or at least allowing the joy to be choked out of me.

I wish I would have realized that sooner so maybe I could have done something about it instead of grumble and complain. But like this past Thanksgiving, I had my ‘ah-hah’ moment a little late. That’s ok, I guess. I’m just thankful it happened at all.

Hopefully this Christmas I will be able to appreciate every moment as I experience each one. I’m sure there will be lots of stress, what is Christmas without a little stress? Speaking of, I love this quote from the book Welcome to the Funny Farm by: Karen Scalf Linamen.

Not that stress and guilt can’t be festive. They can be. In fact, we probably wouldn’t recognize Christmas without them. Indeed, if we had a completely stress-and-guilt-free Christmas, my guess is that somewhere mid-January we’d find ourselves asking: “Did we even celebrate Christmas last month? I remember a flawless dinner and beautifully wrapped presents and well-behaved relatives, but for some reason it just didn’t FEEL like Christmas. Something was missing, but I can’t seem to put my finger on it!”
Ok, so you can’t have Christmas without a little stress thrown in there. But I really hope and pray that I will be able to see the joy as it comes instead of realizing it happened a couple of days late.

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