It’s the most wonderful time of the year! On the other hand, is it? Sure, it’s merry and great, filled with bright lights and shiny ornaments, Santa Claus, memories that warm the very cockles of your heart, and a plethora of gifts…for the little ones. However, how is it for us parents, really? It’s stress, commitments, over extending personally and financially, wrapping gifts, last minute shopping sprees, cooking, cleaning, traveling, and laundry. Oh, my! All compounded by the fact that we still have to perform all the menial tasks of our day-to-day life; housework, job, working out and what have you.
|Pictures with Santa 2005|
Don’t get me wrong; I do love the holidays, as much as anybody else does. In fact, I absolutely adore and embrace all the chaos that comes with the holiday season. Every year at this time, you know sometime between Halloween and New Years Day, my world seems to work itself into this great big foaming mass of chaos. It’s like a sugar high for the soul. I don’t remember it being like this before I had my girls. I, fondly, remember the holidays consisting of leisurely shopping trips in which I employed the one for you two for me technique. By the end of the season, I had accumulated a fabulous new wardrobe at a very reasonable price and all family and friends were sufficiently presented with a gift that they would thoroughly enjoy. The husband got anything his heart desired. Parents received a very thought filled, non-cookie cutter gift. Win; win, right? That was then.
Fast-forward six Christmases, the holiday season consists of Halloween costumes that have been changed in triplicate. School Halloween parties. Nutcracker auditions. Thanksgiving feasts for upwards of 30 people hosted by me because I am trying to create traditions and memories for my girls. In the past, we would have enjoyed attending dinner at one of our Mother’s houses but since we’ve had our children and want to include everyone in the holidays, we are now hosting both sides of the family at our home. Nutcracker rehearsals, Thanksgiving parties at school, the Nutcracker tea, and the Light festival. Black Friday, three Christmases, two Christmas parties, a school Christmas party, a pageant, Church, more last minute shopping for someone I’ve inevitably forgotten, a New Years eve gathering amongst family and a partridge in a pear tree. There is barely time to breathe little lone sit back and truly enjoy the smiles and giggles of little people in my life. Get the picture?
|Bella's 1st Christmas as a Big Sister|
|The girls first Christmas together|
|Gabi's first present EVER!|
When we look back at the pictures a year from now or twenty, they will reflect the happiness of the end results; Girls in their (final choice) costumes trick or treating amongst their friends or walking hand in hand into the sunset on a journey to get more candy. The Thanksgiving photos will be an agglomeration of warm-hearted smiles and hugs on full bellies. Photos of cousins hugging, grown ups enjoying one another’s conversation, Grandparent’s holding children closely, Rock band marathons, and love…loads and loads of love, right there in the heart of our home; the kitchen. Christmas photos will be bright lights, family parties, Christmas trees, and smiles on children’s faces as wide as the Montana sky. The pictures will reflect the true sentiments of the holiday season and none of the bitter chaos of its preparation. That’s Mommy and Daddy’s little secret, sort of like Santa Claus.
Therefore, you see, it really is the most wonderful time of the year. Nevertheless, the memory is different depending on your perspective. Stress is the killjoy of happiness. Let go; embrace your chaos and enjoy your littles. When you look back in 20 years, don’t you want the memory to match the photo? Happy Holidays and Happy Mothering!
|Our second Christmas with both our little girls|
|Last year, Bella's first ever Christmas pageant for school|
|The girls @ the Nutcracker tea 2009 in Richmond|
|Santa at Macys in Chicago this year during Light Festival|
|My girls and I having lunch @ the Walnut Room in Chicago|