What a relief.
I’m fairly sure it has been obvious to any and all how stressed I have been. Worries over how things I was cooking would turn out and the disappointment in not being able to gift more than I did causing me frustration. Memories of years past when gifts piled high around the tree danced through my memory as I stood looking at the bare floor under the tree. Even knowing, it isn’t the gifts, didn’t really help. In my heart, I know the real reason for the season, I hold that dear, but I still wanted to give more.
I spent Christmas Eve day baking a chocolate cake from scratch as well as a banana pudding for the first time ever. I spent this morning doing the rest of the baking. Starting right after seven this morning and cooking until twelve thirty, we had agreed to gather together at one. I also had to find mom and dad’s gift to wrap as well as those of the great niece and nephews. I had asked their parents to pick out the gifts and I would put ten dollars toward what they bought. That saved me from having to shop and hope I got it right.
When it came time to go my son and I loaded everything into the back of my jeep and drove down to mom’s. I walked down and collected the things mom had that needed to go to the building. We had everything on the tables, I had to return to the house once for napkins but we were set.
My brother offered the blessing and the lines formed to the right. I sat at the table with my parents and brother and sister in law. We chatted a bit and enjoyed each other’s company as we ate. The conversation flowed easily covering many topics. I did find out something that I hope happens soon and that is about a new series of hiking trails not too far from where I live. When dad decided he was ready to go back to the house my son walked with him. I was happy to see my son talking more with his cousins. Something he does but on such a limited basis today was more.
When it came time to hand out the gifts to the kids and my parents, I ended up doing it for the first time in forever. It was somewhat funny how close they gathered to where I was. After all gifts had been given and unwrapped I made a comment on how I wondered how they were going to remember whose was whose as they seemed all piled together. The main thing was they seemed to fully enjoy and be happy over every gift. Even as most were the most simple of toys and dolls.
My brother’s family had to leave before they wanted because they had a second meal to prepare for with his in laws. As we cleared away and cleaned up I noticed that at least half of the pudding was gone and several slices of the cake. I was told that it was good. What a relief. In my head I had imagined both going untouched. I was happily wrong.
We cleaned the table cloths, carried out the trash and put the tables and chairs away. They moved everything back into the building that had been moved to allow us to gather.
After returning home, we rested for a bit. As I sat here, I noticed my son wandering back and forth through the house. He had decided to do a deep clean of his room. His closet is this amazing time capsule. He brought me a box of photos to go through, found a box that held a candy dish and lazy susan that had been boxed up and shoved in the back of the shelf in his closet back in 1992 according the the date on the paper wrapping the glass. On one of his trips from his trailer to the house he called out for me to come outside. The sky was absolutely clear with the stars bright. I turned out the light to this room and the kitchen and porch. We sat outside for almost an hour, watching the stars. He pointed out many points and stars of interest. I kept hoping for a shooting star. In a moment of brilliance <sarcasm..I laid back on the back steps so I could see without bending my head so far back. When my son grew bored, he of course had to help me up. Still, it was amazing, taking that time to stop everything to enjoy a shared moment of star gazing. (Which would be a kind of dream date…spending time enjoying the quiet of the night while enjoying the amazing beauty of the heavens.)
As this days slowly winds down, I’m sitting here enjoying a cup of hot herbal tea. Christmas songs are still playing on the radio in the kitchen, and the Grinch is on television. Both dogs are inside and curled up asleep. Earlier someone not too far away thought it a good idea to shoot off very loud fireworks but they too have grown quiet. All of the left overs have been put away, dishes washed and put away. Even my son had stopped his travels through the house. I can now look back and see how I feared needlessly and allowed those fears to create unnecessary stress. Everything went well. My son, who yesterday kept telling me I was doing great, smiled at me when he saw he was right, but to his credit, he never once said I told you so.
I wonder how many of us do that. Allow ourselves to get all worked up, worried and stressed over things that we shouldn’t. Things we have no control over, things that are not worthy of the worry, things that in the end, don’t really matter all that much. I forgot my own mantra, Faith over fear. Worry not, it won’t add a moment more to life, but it will make the moments much less enjoyable. Lesson, learned.