Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tis The Season.

*Photo by the amazing Erica Bartel

We fight desperately for the unique connection that comes with the Christmas holiday.  Imagery and hope fill us, until reality and tension leave us clenching to an ever shortening rope that unravels somewhere between Christmas and New Year.

Chastened to enjoy the moment while commitments and need bang relentlessly at our already overwhelmed door.  As deeply as I long to be present, I equally want to fill my cocoa with too much schnapps and pass out under the lopsided tree.

Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook show me the perfect skill of my contemporaries, the unrivaled perfection of their all together home and lives.  Their houses decorated with light and charm, their children coordinated and smiling gleefully for the camera.  I trip over legos, scold my children, and bake half burned cookies, the frosting turns to an interesting state of brown after all of the colors are mixed together while my back is turned.

Christmas.  Joy.  Peace.  Harmony.

Or is it Chaos.  Tension.  Stress.

The well meaning will encourage us to enjoy the moments, their pressing guilt fills us with shame that perhaps we aren't valuing the hand holding and joy filled eyes enough.  If you are like me, you cuddled close to whichever sleepy head found your lap in the wee hours when dawn has not fully broken forth and your tree twinkles it's glistening lights, hot coffee in your hand, and this moment is the heart clenching breath of I love you mommy.  Only for the light to break free from the nights hold and suddenly it's shrieks of we're going to be late, get dressed, leave the ornaments on the tree, stop unwrapping the gifts, stop eating the advent candy.

Because life is not a succession of picture perfect moments.  It is in the chaos, the stress, the wild unnecessary pressure that we find little treasures of joy and peace and perfection.   It's while the kids are screaming about hating cutting down the tree that we laugh and run and smile.  It's the memories built over cups of cocoa and weary hearts finding each other in the midst of this ever changing world.  It's laughing at twinkling lights while we drive around in our old car, the heat fogging the windows.  It is the breathless I love you after chase and anger.  It's forgiveness and gentleness.

Enjoy this holiday, your winter season.  Enjoy the perfect in the middle of the ridiculous.  Smile at a stranger, give whole heartedly.  No matter how desperate we are to cling to this season, we will fall into moments of stress, frustration, and guilt.  Let it go.  Breathe deep and look into dark eyes that are pushing tacks into the hot cookies you just baked to take to the dessert auction.  Then laugh and maybe take a sip of schnapps.

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