The wintery holiday season is one filled with so many wonderful things. There are parties, festive decorations, tasty treats. All of these things are add-ons to our already busy schedules and at times it can be overwhelming. With a two year old and a five month old, we’re always on the move. More often than not, I’m exhausted! So what to do when you’re already tired entering into this season?
Our family was recently out and about and ran into an acquaintance. We said a quick hi and each went on our ways. But a few days later we received a letter in the mail. The friend, who also happens to be a father of young children, took the time to write us a letter. To let us know that we looked tired. But not to rub it in our face. Instead he wanted to share his sympathy and solidarity. And to offer advice. Not the kind of advice that tells you how to train a two year old. Or ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’ (sorry, that just doesn’t work once you have more than one kid...unless you have lots of people to come in and help...in which case, by all means, SLEEP!). He shared that in their house they have banned the phrase “I can’t wait until…”
Having received that letter on a particularly difficult day, I started crying reading his words. They got me thinking. It’s what my husband and I want for our family: to be in the moment, acknowledging (and hopefully enjoying) the life stage we are in. This was just the reminder we needed to get our family recentered, living more in the present moment rather than chasing the future.
So instead of thinking “I can’t wait until the holidays are over,” what did I do? Well for starters I simplified a number of things. We did a very pared down version of holiday decorating this year--just a wreath, some simple lights, and garlands. We did not plan our annual “Chrismukkah” party. Our calendar was filling up quickly and the thought of having our apartment bursting with people was stressing me out. I did not make grand plans to bake tons of cookies. Even though I love cooking and baking, between nursing, planning for trips and everyday life, there just isn’t time. I’ve chosen one kind of cookie to make with Gaby because we enjoy doing it together.
For me, part of this involves slowing down to allow the space in my day to enjoy the stage we are in. By simplifying what we’re doing, I’m leaving space to deal with the things that tend to take me out of the moment--being too busy and overtired.
And we’re already seeing the fruits of this effort. Lately (and actually for most of his 5 months), Boyd spits up a lot. But now I’m not thinking “I can’t wait til he stops spitting up so much.” Because as Caleb pointed out to me, that would mean he’s getting bigger. And he’s already growing up so (too?) fast. So while smelling like partially-digested milk may not be my prefered scent, I’m not going to let it ruin my day. I’ll continue to cover myself with a large swaddle blanket while holding him (and avoid dry clean only clothing!), but I will not wish this moment away. This is just a phase. It includes some not so glamorous things such as spit-up. But it also includes some wonderful things, like an amazing gummy smile and watching him learn how to roll over. So I’ll take the former and embrace the latter. And I’ll throw “I can’t wait until…” out the window.