Once, after Ellwood was born, I told a friend about a novel I had just read. Astonished, she asked me when I had time to read anything since she also had a son the same age and never had the time to do anything for herself anymore. (She also once complained about Caillou’s mommy, who inexplicably had time to read library books, work a [paying] job and watch over two small children. I’ll admit, that one’s a puzzle to me, as well.)
My secret was to read while nursing. Ellwood nursed well, hardly needing anything from me besides holding him in place. Yes, I am sure there were moments of bonding I may have missed, concentrated as I was on a book instead of his cherubic face. But to be honest, that time of reading enriched my mind and thus his experience of me.
Now, with two little boys on the go, there is precious little time to read. Or write. For instance, this post was started four days ago and it is only now that I am hiding out in the local coffee shop, having packed Hubby and kiddos off to the river walk for a short excursion, that I can get back to writing again. You see, my experience as a mom has taught me that you never have time to do everything. You have to not make time for yourself, but take time, wrestling it free from the various activities and necessities that nibble away at what is left over after the duties of motherhood have exhausted your depleted stores of energy.
Last Christmas was the pinnacle of mania for us. We rushed from one ‘fun’ activity to another, all in the name of enjoying ourselves. It’s true that the St. Nicholas Festival was worth it, as was Christmas cookie day with GG and Granddad.
We enjoyed The Nutcracker performance, the tree lighting, the class performances and the special Advent services at church. And yet, it was impossible to dismiss the sensation of urgency backed, curiously, by panic.
Must. Do. More. Must. Not. Miss. Anything. Because missing something means letting the family down. The horror! And despite all this, I can feel it starting all over again. Already, we have hurried to the tree lighting. Next week the group I sing with will be performing our Christmas concert. That same weekend is the St. Nicholas Festival and The Nutcracker performance. We will be going to everything. Because all this mad dashing about is actually enjoyable. It’s fun to watch the boy’s faces light up as they see Santa Claus walk up the steps of the courthouse and take a seat where they can talk to him. It’s awesome to watch them laugh at the silly cookies they make, playing with cousins, smeared with red and green icing.
Yes, we will run around again this year, hurrying to various places. Because it will make my kids smile. I take my time (to write, to read, to nap- if I’m lucky!) so that when I see them in just another half hour, I will do so happily, able to enjoy the smiles, laughs and stories about their day. Tickles will abound as will cups of hot chocolate and hugs.
This time of year is about the connections we make with friends and family, not the things we do. I hope to focus on that joy and not the ‘materialistic consumerism of it all.’* Happy Holidays, everyone!
*A movie quote. Does anyone know which movie?