The cookies are done being eaten.
The presents unwrapped.
The children are in a temporary glow enamored with their new toys.
I have projects to do and work that needs to be finished and much shorter to do list. The dishes are calling but I can't hear them over the din of contentment.
What have the to do lists and the shopping and the rushing taught you this season?
What has the not having enough, all the while having way too much stress taught you?
I had some less that glorious moments. Some ones I don't want my kids to remember, the red faced mad momma who just wants them to be cooperative 30 year olds rather than beautiful messy littles.
Unfortunately, I have yet to find the balance of achieving the praise for the best Christmas ever (my boys said that this year) while also having a calm serene momma.
But I want to cease to strive.
I want to stop wanting perfection from myself, so that I can stop wanting it from others, namely my children.
Nevertheless Monday night I learned a small part of this life long lesson. I had a family birthday party for Harvey. It was the day after his birthday and the evening before we'd celebrate our Christmas morning. Custody schedules suck in case you were wondering. But because of that our celebrating was concentrated in a smaller period of time. I invited our family and some friends. Unfortunately the kids' friends couldn't make it. I'm from a large family, my mom is one of 12 kids and I have around 40 first cousins.
These family members have been invited to the kids' birthday parties since the beginning. I have had parties where family members alone totaled 30 people. These people know my children. They know their stories. They know and remember why Harvey has been missing two front teeth since he was 2.5 years old. They have watched them grow up.
As I looked around my full, small house and heard the laughter and the big kids (teenagers and twenty somethings) I realized a value for my children I hadn't thought of before. The boys, and eventually Eowyn, will remember growing up close to family members. They will remember that their cousins who were 15 years older than them made it a priority to come to their birthday parties. They will remember that even after mommy and daddy divorced this didn't change. They will maintain relationships with both sides of their family and joy isn't divided, it's multiplied.
I saw Elizabeth (a cousin) heckling Michael (my brother).
Aylah, (my sister's step daughter) and Eowyn deciding they like each other.
Tessa and Talia (more cousins) joining in the fray as the four girls four and under played with Eowyn's toys and jumped down the stairs 100 times or more.
The adults talked Christmas presents and gratefulness for family and about where the wine was?
And there were no planned crafts or decorations, the food was a conglomeration of whatever I had in the pantry.
But there was beauty, it wasn't in streamers or balloons or party favors, it was in the smile of all of those who love each other.
The realization hit me, I have made memories for my children. Without even realizing it, I have created a tradition. They're going to talk about the loud crazy birthday parties that their mom had for them. They're going to talk about their family and they'll be talking about my family. I have passed something on. It didn't cost much money and I didn't spend much time creating it, I cooked some food, made a cake and sent some texts. I even forgot to buy paper plates.
But it was beautiful. And I am grateful. One day they might want their parties to consist of laser tag and school friends, but until they ask for that, we're making memories.
|This is a small portion of the party goers ;-)|
|Happy Birthday Harvey|
|Singing, that smile|