And now, just a few thoughts on the season: I am in full holiday hustle mode, as I’m sure you can say the same. Every bit is stretched: time, energy, money, patience, emotional bandwidth, brain space. Just last week I took one glance at my watch, another at the lines in Costco checkout, and promptly abandoned my cart (full of snack duty provisions for my daughter’s kindergarten class). Speeding toward my son’s preschool pickup and cursing every red light, I was full-on out-loud lamenting wasting my kid-free time (as in, not managing it better). But here’s what matters: I wasn’t late, my three-year-old was thrilled to pick up a Jimmy John’s sandwich on the way back to Costco, and thought it was the funniest that we were playing hide-and-seek in the store to find mommy’s cart (no such luck, we shopped all over again).
Frustration was on overload, but when all was said and done, I was given such a gift: the sweetest little afternoon date with my son. And outwardly I acted like this was the plan all along. So whatever grace I found to give myself that day, to take a deep breath and embrace new-laid plans with a positive heart, that’s how I want to honor this holiday season. And it also was such a reminder that my attitude is reflected in my children. They are watching and mirroring our effort, reactions, beliefs, demeanor, approach to the world. As we hold our children’s hands, we are, quite literally, leading them into a place of gratitude or frustration, of joy or stress.
Because, ultimately, it may not be the actual outcome that matters but the effort and quiet encouragement we give our children—and, most importantly, ourselves—along the way. It’s the generous ways we include and appreciate others, and it’s slowing down enough to realize it was not a “wasted” day at Costco—it was spending delicious time with a chatty three-year-old about how to pick the perfect batch of apples.
So here’s to connecting in all the ways that matter this holiday season, to the unbridled joy, slices of grace and quiet moments of reflection, even amidst the hustle and bustle. May you find peace in your heart and a place to savor it. And if you don’t, well, there’s always tomorrow to take a deep breath and stand in line again.