Sunday, November 29, 2015

'Things' Won't Spoil Holiday Season

It's not even December 1 yet, and already I feel like I'm behind in our Christmas preparations.  I wonder when we will get our tree decorated or the outdoor lights hung.  Although I've started a little bit of Christmas shopping, that list seems to grow too, and don't even get me started on our Christmas cards.  I am just too busy and can't possibly find time to get all these things done.

Kyle and I have been talking about the word "busy" a lot lately.  It seems like you can ask anyone how they are doing, and many respond with that word or tell you that they don't have time for something. But the more we talked about it, the more we decided we would work hard to use that word less, and enjoy the time that we have, whatever it is that we are doing.

Let's face it, each and every one of us is given the same 24 hours in our seven-day week. How we choose to spend that time is up to us, and it's up to us to make the most of it.

I choose to work part-time at the paper, and though my family needs my income, it's still my choice.  For me, my job gives me a chance to have something of my own, to make a difference in my community and be part of a rich, family tradition. That doesn't mean that I always love my job. There are long meetings to cover and stressful deadlines, but it's my job, and it's my choice how I spend that time. And I am so grateful for my parents and my in-laws for pitching in with the babysitting, so I know Grace is in good hands.

Sometimes I find myself begrudging of the time it takes to take Grace to and from physical therapy appointments in Springfield or doctor's appointments in St. Louis. I feel like I could use that time in so many other ways, like cleaning the house, writing notes or just snuggling and watching a Hallmark movie. But it's my choice to take her to those visits, so I can be there to hear what they have to say. We have had several kind offers to take Grace to PT in Springfield every once in awhile to give me some time to myself. But it's my choice to go and show my support for Grace. I promised her that she and I were in this together, and she works so hard in all her sessions. I want to be there, so she knows how proud I am and how much I love her.

This year, I'm adopting that same attitude about the holiday season. Usually, I like to put the Christmas tree up in one afternoon or evening, listening to my favorite Muppets Christmas cd. Since Grace didn't' have PT this past Friday, I thought it would be the perfect day to set up the tree and do the outdoor lights. Rainy weather quickly nixed the outdoor idea, but we figured we would have plenty of time to decorate the tree.

I had to run up to the paper to get a few things done for Monday's edition, so Kyle and Grace set up our artificial tree while I was gone. Then, I figured we could get it decorated while Grace was napping. Before I dug out the decorations, I thought I would just start a load of laundry and pick up a few things around the house.  Then, I hunted up my strings of brightly colored lights and tested them to make sure they worked before carefully brightening up the tree.

After the lights were up, I went downstairs to find the tree skirt and a few other holiday decorations. Before I knew it, Grace was awake from her nap, and it was time to meet some friends for dinner. I caught myself feeling disappointed that we didn't get it done, knowing I wouldn't have another chance for a few days. But instead of dwelling on what we didn't get done, we turned the lights on the Christmas tree, and have enjoyed the view. We will get the ornaments added in the coming days, even if we don't get it all done at once.

I decided several years ago that it's much easier for me to get Christmas cards done in January after the hustle and bustle is over, so I already scratched that off my to-do list for the coming years. And Kyle and I even had a chance to get started on some of our Christmas shopping too.

As the weekend came to a close, I sighed thinking about all the "things" I had hoped to accomplish to get ready for the holidays. Then, I took a step back, and instead thought of the "things" I did. Grace and I had dinner with my parents and one of their friends on Friday night, and had so much fun catching up. On Saturday, we helped mom and her sisters get ready for the Hutson Christmas, which was followed by a special date night with Kyle.

I didn't find the time to do all the things on my to-do list, but how I chose to spend my time meant much more to me. And whether or not my "things" get done, I won't let it spoil my holiday season. Instead of being "busy," I'm going to make the choice to enjoy my family no matter what we do.

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