Life is a funny little thing at times. You can just mosey on through life and then ...WHAM...you are hit upside the head with something! As kids I think the WHAM was being grounded or having to live by your parents rules...hence why we all couldn't wait to grow up. As adults though...the WHAM'S are too numerous to list and we are left doing the mental (or really) head slap questioning why we ever wanted to grow up! I chuckle at this then catch myself turning around and telling Elizabeth (sounding just like my mom) growing up is not all the glory you think it is.
So at this point Christmas is a mere 33 days away. The ending of another year...phew. BUT this year was so very different for me. This year has changed me as a person, touching and moving the very being that I am, more than any other year or even decade for that matter.
Christmas can either be the most joyous time of year or stressful time. In simple terms, my Christmas's have evolved as follows:
Kid Years: oh my gosh, do I have the most presents under the tree...I truly hope so (sorry sis's)
Teenage Years: I wonder how much my friends are spending on me so I know how much to spend on them...and hopefully I have some darn good presents under the tree.
College Years: friends, don't buy me anything cuz I can't buy you anything. Mom...I really need this and that.
Married With A Double Income Years: I am going to buy the most awesome presents for everyone! This is so frykn awesome!!!
Married With A Double Income and Children Years: oh my...am I still paying for last Christmas. Family and friends, don't buy us anything we can't afford to exchange. BUT...the stress of the making sure the girls have the latest and greatest thing!
So you see I had lost track of the true meaning of Christmas and fell into the trap of the Holiday being solely material. I mean how can we be happy if we don't have the best of the best. I'm a Christian and fell into that horrible trap where I dread the greatest Holiday ever!!! So, as Christmas has been quickly approaching my anxiety level has been out of control. After all our expenses have been crazy this year (new roof, gutters, outside house paint) so I have been seeing what income is going to come in going forward and what money I can pull from each paycheck from now until Christmas.
Well thank you God for the simple conversation I had with a 7 year old that truly WHAMMED me in the face. Elizabeth became friends with a girl (she is 7) last year in Kindergarten who actually lives just down the street. They had moved in about 5 years ago but we never met them. Starting this last March, Elizabeth and her friend have been playing together regularly. We have gotten to know who her parents are and truly have built a friendship with them. The nicest family EVER! What is awesome is that they are a family of 5 living on one income. The mom stays home and cares for the kids (13, 7, and 5) and the house! You seriously cannot find a family that has a bigger heart than them. Elizabeth's friend is ALWAYS grateful for everything! If you do the simplest thing for her she always smiles and it is always accompanied by a big thank you and a huge hug. So not like Elizabeth. I'm so sad to say that Elizabeth is easily one of the most ungrateful kids I know when it comes to materialistic things. I don't blame her for this...I blame us!
So back to the conversation with Elizabeth's friend, I asked her what "Santa" brought her for Christmas last year. With the biggest smile EVER...she said that he brought her the new Tinker Bell movie. I sat there waiting for more...and Elizabeth bluntly said...that's it!!! WHAM...hello what have I created in Elizabeth??!! Here is a child that got a movie from "Santa" who was and still is extremely excited...and here was MY child who couldn't believe that "Santa" only brought her that. I have honestly gone wrong over these years. I have built everything around the material things in life.
So with some sole searching, Christmas isn't going to be what it has always been. It's not the amount of presents or how much you have spent. It's about truly understanding the meaning of Christmas and holding on and loving each of your loved ones. In less than a week I have gone from being completely stressed about Christmas to so very excited. Sure, Elizabeth and Meghan will have presents under the tree and deliveries from "Santa"...but it won't be like the past years. That is not what Christmas is about!
I have always been a strong independent person in life. I guess you can also throw in stubborn. But this past year I have had some amazing life changing moments. These life changing moments have not been from amazing speakers, sophisticated family members, or anyone of that nature. They solely have come from an amazing 3-month old angel Grace (and her parents) who I never had the honor of meeting, my amazing 2 year old Meghan, and the conversation of Elizabeth's 7 year old friend. WOW...I have years and years on them, but they have the heart and soul on me. Thank you to you three. You have made me more of a person than I ever was in my 34 years.
This Thanksgiving and Christmas, stop and think who has touched your lives and give thanks and love to them. Sometimes the people you least expect to truly change your life are the ones that will EVER make the biggest impact.
6 months ago