Monday, December 29, 2008

The real meaning

Most people that know me know I'm not a big fan of the holidays. For many reason I tend to let it stress me out. Stress that exceeds my normal levels. Stress that is mostly self induced (see I'm past denial) but none the less stress that will reduce me to a quiver bundle of tears and curse words. I vowed this year was going to be different. I started early, prepping the kids for the changes that were coming. I must say through this whole holiday season I've been incredibly impressed with my children. And we should keep in mind Dan is 10 & Wav is 8, they are still children. Their understanding and compassion and comprehension goes way beyond their years.

My kids have grown up always knowing the real meaning of Christmas. It isn't Santa and shopping and sales. It's Jesus and his magnificent birth that we are celebrating. Most of our Christmas's though have been big gift holidays. Tom & I have always gone a little over board (he would say it was all my doing & I won't deny that) getting them everything they wanted. This year I really wanted to scale back. We talked in November about lack of time and tight funds and we discussed the possibility of opening gifts on new years eve instead of the 24th. They were absolutely ok with that. Completely understanding of the fact that Tom & I were both incredibly busy this time of year with work, work & church obligations. Then I prepared them for the quantity and that I was going to stick to a rule of two gifts each. Again they told me they would be happy with nothing so long as we were all together. And you know what, they meant it, that wasn't just talk.

We did not put up a tree, we did not put out any decorations. I did not wrap the two gift each that I bought them. We made no big production of them getting their gifts. And yet we had one of the most enjoyable holidays ever. We enjoyed a wonderfully moving church service Christmas Eve. We slept late on Christmas morning. We got to visit with friends and family. We sat around and laughed and celebrated as richly as we have any year.

I'm always surprised when I hear adults talk about what they "didn't get" and how short changed they felt at Christmas. And I want to say "stop acting like a 10 year old." And then I laugh thinking some of these people could take a lesson from my 10 (and 8) year old. I know I've got some tough times ahead of me with the teen years looming in the future but we are going to go into those years with a strong foundation. And I'm betting that is going to make all the difference. The most important job I have is to prepare my children for life, not just any old life but a good, productive, responsible life! I couldn't be more proud of them. I love you guys.





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