It’s been that kind of week. Or, month. Off. We’ve had late nights due to work Christmas parties and kid Christmas concerts and random things that just come up out of nowhere and require us to be out of the house and our kids haven’t been to bed on time in who knows how long. I haven’t been getting enough sleep, and it’s made me all that much more off. I heard a powerful message on Sunday morning (twice, since I work at the church and am there for both services) and it’s been on my head all week. It was one of those ones that you can’t not do something about.
Noah told me this morning that when he picked Kaylie up from school the other day, she was climbing up and down the snow hill on her hands and knees while all the other kids sledded because she doesn’t have a sled and nobody would share theirs with her.
You can’t tell that to an emotional sleep-deprived mother and not expect her to cry.
I’ve never felt that my kids should have everything they want. I grew up in a modest-income home and always had everything I needed, but rarely got everything I wanted. I always had clothes and food and a bike and summer holidays. But, I had a wardrobe full of thrift-store finds and hand-me-downs, my lunches were usually home-made, my bike was always a hand-me-down, and our summer holidays never included Disneyland. And I think I’m better for it. I never want my kids to have a sense of entitlement; like they’re owed something. I want them to consider their belongings blessings. I want them to be grateful for what they have, not always longing for what they don’t have. I want them to be aware that there are children all over the world, and even in their own city, that would be over-the-moon grateful to have half of what my kids have. Maybe that’s asking a lot, I don’t know.
I seem to always find myself off in the month of December. I’m not a huge fan of secularized Christmas. This is quite hard on my Mr. Christmas husband who would, if he had the cash, have a Griswold Christmas, complete with blown fuses. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with him wanting that, but I just don’t care about that sort of stuff.
The “joy of the holiday season” is hard to live up to. I usually find myself falling into a deeper depression rather than being filled with joy. Having it look, from the outside, like we’re a happy growing loving family is especially hard because I feel like it has to be true. It’s not like we’re miserable, we just have our struggles and I find it hard to live up to what I think others expect of us/me.
We’re doing Christmas a little different this year. For the last couple years, on my side of the family, we’ve drawn names instead of getting everyone gifts. We all buy for the kids, since there are only four (soon to be six) and kids are so easy and fun to shop for. This year, we’re doing the same thing on Noah’s side of the family. I love this especially because our budget is tight as it is, and I always want to give people something they want that they’re going to love, and it’s really hard to do when you can’t spend what you want to spend. It’s like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and it’s made Christmas shopping all that much more enjoyable.
With our kids, we’re getting them each just one under-the-tree gift in addition to their stocking. Stockings were a new thing for me my first Christmas as a Wilson. I’d never done/gotten one before. It’s not like I was missing out, as I was never lacking in Christmas presents growing up, but I didn’t really understand what stockings were all about and what was put in them and why they were done in the first place. But, I’ve come to embrace them and it’s been fun doing them with the kids.
A couple years ago, we went a little overboard on Christmas presents for the girls. It was especially apparent when, after opening her first gift, Liliana refused to open any more. She was thrilled with her gift and was like why would I want anything else when I’ve got THIS RIGHT HERE?! That moment made an impact on me. They have grandparents and aunts and uncles who buy for them (and love to spoil them) (which I in no way have a problem with), and we figure there’s no point in us buying more than one gift for them ourselves. So, we’re not. And I don’t think they’ll notice.
When it came to the sled story, I couldn’t take it. I don’t know that Kaylie’s asked for a sled, but I want to bless her with one. After Noah told me about it this morning I said to him, go buy her a crazy carpet or a disc thingy or SOMETHING inexpensive and sled-like. So he did. For less than five bucks. And he texted me at work to tell me that she was very happy with it. I’m sure if she’d demanded a sled, I’d be less inclined to get her one – is that passive-agressive parenting?
I think tonight/tomorrow/sometime before Sunday we’re going to go over that list and see what we can do to make some other kid’s day/life/Christmas a little better. I think that would bring me more joy than a lit-up head-moving Reindeer lawn ornament or watching my children open more presents than they know what to do with.