Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Grieving just a little...

As a mom, I feel a lot of pressure this time of year to make things beautiful and magical for my family.

Over the years, we've created so many traditions that are special to our family. I love sending Christmas cards out to our family and friends. I love making gingerbread houses and other special holiday treats (though I don't necessarily enjoy doing it with my children). I love Christmas crafts. I love lighting the candles of our Advent wreath at dinner, and I love all the sentimental decorations we have around the house. I love parties. I love making and delivering gifts to our neighbors and friends. I love wrapping gifts and I love all of our Christmas Eve and Christmas morning rituals.

But things feel really "off" for me this year. I was gone all last week, and you know, December is really not the best time to lose an entire week. (I know, I know I didn't really lose last week, and that I was exactly where I needed to be, but could someone please slow things down a bit for me?)

I'm not extraordinarily busy these days, but I have a bajillion things that I want to do to make this season special for my family. Most are things that really make it feel like Christmas to me.

I'm already so behind on so many things I want to do, and because we're traveling this year, I'm QUICKLY running out of time to do them.

Which brings me to my current dilemna--How do I decide what is most important? What things can I let slide? if I let something slide, how disappointed will my family be? How will I handle my own disappointment? 

Right now, I think I'm grieving the loss of what I want this holiday to be.

John and I talked to the kids after dinner tonight and explained that this year is just going to be a little different. We'll be somewhere else on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. We may not have time to make all the cookies and treats or do some of the things that we normally do. They are disappointed about some things. Truthfully, so am I. Realistically, I know that I can't do it all but I sure do want to.

I'm all about slowing down and simplifying, but this year it feels like my already simplified season is being pared down even more. I'm struggling a bit...and praying that it will still be special and beautiful and magical for my family.

Thanks for listening...

25 comments:

Farm Fresh Jessica said...

Aww sweetie. I don't think I have the same sort of pressure because my children are still so young--they think anything is great!

I say, just do what you really really love, and don't let yourself feel guilty about the rest. Hth...

HUGS.

Trish said...

Oh Meredith, I feel it too, only mine is almost opposite of yours. The desire to do more things that are meaningful...and less of just "things".

Kids are resilient and pliable. Whatever it is that you choose to cut out, they will understand. The will still feel as loved. Maybe ask them what tradition they are willing to give up (if only for this year).

Blessings!!

Amber said...

The things that you choose will be great things! And the best things! And the most memorable things! Don't be hard on yourself...your kids are so, so, so blessed.

Elizabeth said...

I suspect that your kids will love the traditions you do this year no matter what. Years from now they will not remember the fact that some traditions got left out, instead they will smile at the things you did do as a family. And, they will enjoy those other traditions even more next year!

And there's no reason to feel guilty. You work hard every day of the year to make your home a fun place with meaningful traditions all the time. One holiday season will not change that!

Deidre said...

I was at the same place as you last year for Christmas, Meredith. We had lost a boy in our youth group on December 6th and it zapped the Christmas spirit and energy right out of me. We didn't do a fraction of what we normally do as far as gifts, baking and parties. But, it was still special in the end and even my small children didn't notice a difference. I realized I put that pressure on myself.

I believe our children just enjoy being with us and we don't have to do all the extras we put on ourselves. I'm sure in the end, what matters is that you are all together.

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

Just have to say that I love you Meredith. And I'm so thankful for you and your friendship.

Praying for you to choose wisely--and remember that you can take some of your traditions on the road with you, sharing them with your family there can be part of your gift to them. Making cookies, reading the Christmas story, whatever else travels well.

Praying for your day, my friend.

Joanne

Amy said...

Thank you for sharing this! I needed to hear it.
You are not alone. Just last night I was almost in tears wishing we could just stay here and not make the road trip to Kel's and then to my family's. And I love Christmas with my family, but the whole process of getting there and back is a hassle right now. And we have to miss so much fun stuff in the process.

I'm just trying to remember that what we do or how much we do isn't as important as the spirit in which we do it and that we do it as a family. I'm having to give up some of my Christmas dreams this year, too, and I just realized that it's probably the biggest deal to me rather than the kids. But they won't remember the details of everything we do as much as they'll remember us being together and whether or not Mom was a frazzled mess or not during the season.

I'm trying to be intentional about truly being in the moment, every moment with my family this year. I'll pray for you because I think I know how to pray specifically about this one! It's all too familiar today.

Amy said...

P.S. I'm baking and cooking in January since I won't be here to do it. At first I thought my neighbors and friends would think getting goodies after the holidays is strange. Then I thought, who's going to turn down treats?

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Thank you for your openness and sharing. I've been feeling the same way since October. Almost like I'm skipping right over the last 2.5 months of the year.

Megan said...

I agree with Amy...just prolong this year's Christmas celebrations? How about celebrating Epiphany this year (Jan 6--the day that is meant to celebrate the Magi's visit to Christ) and incorporate your Christmas traditions into the 12 days of Christmas?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphany_(holiday)

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

I don't have time currently to read all the other comments, but we're only a week and a half into December. I know you're traveling, but it's still not like December 22nd. :) Which I think is a bright side.

Just use THESE days to cram as many of those special things into and 'mark' them off your list. And then don't beat yourself up about what you just can't do. Maybe make your neighbors New Year's cookies instead... or just 'winter' ones, like snowflakes. Those will still be in style even after Christmas!

See if you can get the tedious things done now so you won't have to worry about them.

You'll just have to stick to your lists, be intentional, give yourself lots of freedom and grace, and enjoy the special moments AS THEY COME (instead of waiting for the next thing).

Gretchen said...

I can't add a thing that wasn't said by one of the peeps above. Just want to send a big hug and an "I hear ya, sistah" to you. While I don't have a loved one who is sick at the moment, I do have this play which has taken up all our Saturdays in November and basically most of the first 2 weeks in December. BUT...it's a worthy commitment, and someone said that if we can teach our children flexibility, they'll be so blessed. I agree. It's certainly not a lesson that I learned well. Or graciously. Sometimes, life is what it is; or even if planned and executed, doesn't GO according to OUR plans and expectations.

I say...get another cuppa something. Take a deep breath, and give thanks for the 3 (okay, I'll include John, too :) ) reasons you work so hard to make Christmas special. It already IS special, Mer. And so are you, BTW.

xxxooo

Teri in CO said...

{{{hugs}}}... This is a quiet Christmas season for me so in a sense it feels "off" for me too. But one thing I read recently that made a lot of sense... Ask each of your kids to name one thing that you do that means "Christmas" to them... and just do those things! Or two for each person... That way everyone is doing a least one thing that is special this time of year and you aren't bombarded with everything! I'll be praying for you Mer...

Megan L Hutchings said...

I wish I could give you a big hug and Starbucks right now. As a mom, we all want to make anything that is already special even more so for our children. I would make a list of all the things that you and your family love to do, and then sit down together and decide which ones would mean the most this year ;)!

No matter what, it will be magical b/c you want it to be!

Tiffani said...

probably not much I can say that hasn't already been said in your previous comments but I feel heavy when my friends feel heavy...so I understand.

One moment a time and one thing at a time is all you can do...and those things WILL be special...

Wishing you discernment, organization, and peace....much love!!

Michele said...

Oh Meredith! I am so very sorry. I wish I could wave a magic wand over you and slow things down. To decide what you should do and not do - ask the kids. Ask each one of them what is their favorite Christmas tradition. Or, since things are different this year, why not just start a new tradition and forgot the others just for this year? I am praying for you and your family. I pray it will feel like Christmas for you soon.

petrii said...

This year is different for us too. I had major knee surgery in November and so I am still very much in the recovery zone. Normally by this time I have the house completely decorated, most of our CHRISTmas shopping done, and working on the goodie treats and stocking stuff, but this year we've yet to get our tree up and I haven't been CHRISTmas shopping outside my house once (unless you count the 2 gifts I bought at after CHRISTmas sales last year). So I'm just trying to roll with things and get done what we can and try not to put added pressure on myself or my family, although that's hard.

Well, thanks for sharing and thanks for listening (I know longggg comment =)

Have a Beautiful day,
Dawn

It's All Good! said...

Oh Mer, maybe just let this just be a 'different' Christmas that you and your family can look back on and have one more "remember when" to talk about with warmth.
Maybe have each kiddo pick one small thing they'd like to share or do, (within reason of course). And it will be a special memory that they will also hold dear partly because it was 'their' idea.
Please don't let guilt niggle it's way in and rob you and you family of precious memories.
God bless,
Brenda

Meredith said...

Sorry you are feeling a little disappointed. We have scaled our Christmas down this year. I really want to focus more on the meaning of the holiday and our family just being together. You never know, this could just be your best Christmas yet...or at least one full of great memories.

Kimberly said...

Just thinking of you.

I do think talking about everything with the kids is a good idea. It can help to find out what really matters to everyone and what no one will miss.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Kellie said...

I'll be praying for you too!

I think with the news on your Dad's health, and have a whole week less time (since Thanksgiving was late) AND all the things mentioned above, I can understand your disappointment.

I'm excited to hear all about how this years memories were different, and yet treasured all the same!

Lindsay said...

Mer, You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers this year. I like Amy and Megan's ditto on the idea of prolonging the holiday a bit.

Different is rough yet can be good if we're open to seeing the Lord's hand at work in the unexpected.

This year will be different for me as well. Mom's alzheimer's is worse each year. Sally, my sister, has decided to join me in NC.

Ali said...

I'm praying that your family has a wonderful Christmas full of new memories and special times even if it is a different style this year! Don't feel bad one bit about doing things differently this year at Christmas! When it is all said and done your kids will treasure a magical Christmas and gain something new this year! Merry Christmas!

~ Ali

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

I always have grand ideas of how it is all supposed to be and then it rarely measures up to what I have going on in my head...and I end up disappointed. I love the idea of simplifying and slowing down, too, and I guess I have to realize that I have to let some things go.

I've been thinking about you and your dad a lot lately...I pray he is doing well...

Lisa said...

Sometimes we do have to choose what is important don't we. That is so hard. We have tried to lower our expectations in the past few years. We decided to do what we wanted without thinking about 'is this enough' or 'what about so and so'. Doing what works for us as a family.

Hang in there.

Lisa Q