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The Holidays Are Tough For Grown Ups

Looking at the holidays from a child's perspective is a lot more fun.

My kids aren’t perfect. This was made clear to me as they played tug-of-war with the oatmeal container tom-tom we made last week.

I’m not perfect. This was made clear to me when I yelled, “I will TAKE that tom-tom and THROW it out the WINDOW!”

We all have our faults. We’ve all made mistakes throughout the years. I make mistakes every single day of my life!

“Stop that tapping!” I yelled. My afternoon reverie, interrupted by a mind-numbing repetitive noise, was not to be. “Do not even THINK about tying your sister up and hitting her with that tomahawk!”

My girls, wearing paper feather headdresses while they sculpted a settlers’ colony out of Play-doh, were totally wired up. They are excited about the days we’ll be spending with friends, the food, the presents, the parties, the general “festiveness” of it all. They have been constantly chattering, singing loudly, squealing shrilly, jumping up and down excitedly and getting glitter everywhere.

I won’t lie. They have also been completely getting on my nerves. I’ve been
thinking about asking for a good set of earplugs this Christmas.

There is so much that needs to be done – my to-do list is literally three pages long. Naturally, my mind is on everything that needs to be purchased, wrapped, packed, baked, sorted, tagged, signed, sealed and delivered. I need quiet. I need to focus!

My children, however, don’t care about any of that. Their to-do list is very different from mine: see their friends and their families. Decorate some trees. Sing some songs. Build some snowmen. Read some stories. Look at some lights. Eat some cookies, stay up late, play some games and open some presents. In other words, relax and thoroughly enjoy themselves.

I’m somewhat jealous of their childish enthusiasm; to be perfectly honest, their list sounds like a lot more fun than mine does. As a matter of fact, mine sounds downright boring and joyless.

Am I missing the proverbial forest for the Christmas trees here? Maybe the singing, squealing and glittering isn’t so bad after all. Maybe they have it right and I need to just lighten up!

It seems that the real key to enjoying the holidays comes down to just this one thing: perspective. We need to accept each other for who we are. Warts and all. Things that drive me crazy (like squealing from excitement or singing Holly Jolly, Holly Jolly over and over) might just be the very things that are missing in my own life.

No, the ones I love aren’t perfect.

But loving them, even with all of their faults, is somehow perfect.

It’s amazing how love can do that: it can transform just about anything. Your family (and mine) might not be straight out of “It’s a Wonderful Life.” “It’s a Mediocre Life” or “It’s a Dysfunctional Life” might be more appropriate.

But maybe I should go into it this year like my children: with hope and excitement. With a song in my heart. With glitter! 

I’m going to be prepared to count to ten. I’m going to breathe deeply, listen to a relaxation CD and try to maintain a non-Grinchy attitude. I may even go outside and find that tom-tom and give it back to them! I’m going to try to forgive the annoyances and maybe, just maybe, let some things slide this year. Who knows? Maybe I’m the annoying one. Maybe my kids are letting things slide because they love me.

I can at least return the favor.

gail gorby December 05, 2011 at 12:44 AM
Yeah, just enjoy this holiday season it comes but once a year,and then it's gone!Just like the kids, now they are little and then(poof) they are grown.
Beth Lydic December 05, 2011 at 12:58 AM
You are right, it is all about perspective! Love your insight and we all could use a little more glitter in our lives.
Sharon December 05, 2011 at 04:02 AM
Our pastor had the same message this morning about being too busy to enjoy the Joy of the season (Jesus). You will do well to let some things slide and just enjoy! Merry Christmas!
Deb Lea December 05, 2011 at 01:56 PM
SO well expressed! And THAT would be why I quit sending Christmas cards. The chore of writing them was overshadowing the reason for sending them...at least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
Donna Milnes December 05, 2011 at 09:22 PM
Loved your article. Every parent has felt the pressure of all that needs done at the holidays and you totally are not alone. With working, shopping, cleaning, wrapping, cookie baking, it is overwhelming. Just take time to STOP and smell "the burnt cookies" and laugh.
Devone December 08, 2011 at 06:38 AM
It's certainly flying by this year!
Devone December 08, 2011 at 06:38 AM
Ain't it the truth!? :)
Devone December 08, 2011 at 06:39 AM
I know, Deb... I ALMOST didn't do our annual newsletter this year because it felt like a chore to me. I'm glad you're sticking to your guns, so to speak! :)
Devone December 08, 2011 at 06:40 AM
Thank you, Donna! You are right... and I just burned some cookies earlier tonight, so your advice is well-recieved! :) Merry Christmas!
Shanna January 02, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Ha ha--I burnt some cookies this Christmas too! I'm just glad I actually baked some this year--and let the girls help too!

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