I usually have a friend proofread my blog posts, but tonight I’m flying without a net because I want to post this thought quickly before I decide it’s silly. Please, forgive me if I misplace a comma or ten. This is just my heart, unedited.
I can’t handle the Christmas rush any longer. My heart is grieving for mothers who will never hold their babies again in this life. In some ways it feels wrong to enjoy Christmas this year. I don’t want to leave the moms and dads of Sandy Hook behind. I know how hard it is to see the world move on while you are still stuck in the painful place of loss.
At the same time, I’m fretting over getting presents finished, packages wrapped, goodies baked, the house cleaned, children dressed up, bills paid, cards mailed, and sitters arranged. I’m trying to squeeze an obligatory visit in between seeing people who love us and who we really want to see and I have been fighting off a little sniffle for days. I’m posting Facebook statuses like “Straw falls on camel. Camel’s back breaks. No news at 11. Camel bit reporter.” Or, “Fa la la la la, fa la la flop.” I’m cranky and I am not being kind to my kids and all of that seems to demean the memory of those 20 sweet faces that won’t be seen around the dinner table tonight.
Less than a week after such a huge tragedy and I am already taking my babies for granted. I’m left wondering, is all the tinsel and sweat worth it?
I quit. I am not playing the Christmas Game anymore.
I will not hang fancy ornaments on our tree this year. I will have my children make a gazillion snowflakes. Some will go on our tree and some will go to the children who survived the Sandy Hook shootings. This will bring me more peace than fretting over my children breaking or the puppy chewing ornaments that are not as valuable as my children or my puppy and certainly have no eternal value.
I will prioritize our time. Rather than fretting over parties or visits that are purely obligatory, we will stay home and rest so we can spend time with those we love. I especially want to spend precious time with my dad. Dad is facing his second bone marrow transplant to treat cancer. In five years, I will still be able to go Christmas caroling, but I may not be able to hug my dad. I would be a fool to miss that chance now. If I don’t rest, I may end up being really sick and unable to see him.
I will buy preservative filled junk for my contribution to the youth group Christmas party rather than sweat baking something that, frankly, won’t be appreciated any more than the store bought stuff. I knew the youth would be a blessing in my life (and they absolutely have been.) I had no idea that their willingness to eat all things junk would be part of the blessing.
I will bake pies from scratch for my family on the day before Christmas because I love baking pies and my family will appreciate them.
I will wrap gifts until 10:30 pm Christmas eve. Whatever isn't wrapped by then can be tucked under the tree as is or be saved for Epiphany. No more staying up until all hours trying to get everything finished.
I will let each child wrap their gift to their daddy and their gift to each other. Each child in our family picks one sibling’s name from a hat, sort of like Secret Sibling. I know I will appreciate seeing sloppily wrapped gifts indicative of the skills of our 3-year-old Apple Blossom far more than the fanciest packaging. I think her daddy will too. This way, pictures of presents will actually mean something.
I will find the advantage of having 3 children’s birthdays in 4 weeks. We will schedule Dinosaur’s, Apple Blossom’s and Strawberry’s birthday parties at the same time and maybe we will have Chick-Fil-A host them. That way I could really enjoy the party. I will try not to fret over whether we can afford it. After all, we would be getting three parties for the price of one.
I will hold on to the promises, hope and joy of this season. My joy is not found in wrappings, trappings, baked goods, or perfectly coiffed kiddos and it is not as easily taken as all of those things.
These irises normally bloom in early April in our sunny front yard, but three of them have sent out buds this week. To me this is a powerful reminder that God will never leave us in the dark and cold without a sign of the life to come.
So, that’s my Christmas Manifesto. Not much to do with homeschooling when it comes right down to it, just another lesson for me to learn. That’s okay though, I know this homeschooling journey is as much about the lessons I can learn as the ones my children study. Hopefully they will take this lesson along with me.