“Are you ready for Christmas?” That was the greeting I received December 5th from a very kind co-worker as I walked down the hall at work. Boy, did that make me crabby. Then, I started to think, “What was it about that very innocent question that made me grumble to myself the entire 5 min walk across the medical campus?”
I think it was this: Why is everything a race? Why, in so many ways, do we work so hard to win races that if we stepped back and thought about it, we wouldn’t enter to begin with?
For the record, not only was I not ready for Christmas, I wasn’t ready to be ready. I love Christmas, the season of giving. I love nesting with the kids: baking, decorating the house, making ornaments, decorating the tree, lighting candles, delivering goodies to the neighbors, going to party after party, singing Christmas songs as a family. I love eating potato pancakes with our friends who celebrate Hanukkah, visits to the botanical garden train display, the St. Louis Zoo Wild Lights, Tilles Park. I get excited planning my Christmas list, planning our Christmas card: the photo, the clothes, the colors on the card. I love all of it.
Thanks so much to my good friend whose card arrived the day after Thanksgiving. And thanks to my friends whose cards haven’t yet arrived. I love opening those cards and seeing photos, or hearing about each person’s year. If they all arrived by Dec 5th, I would be sad. When they keep arriving for weeks on end, going to the mailbox to find them amongst the bills and junk mail is a treat, a “double fudge sundae at the end of a liver and onions dinner”-sized treat. I don’t want to be done with all of it by Black Friday or even Cyber Monday. For me, celebrating the holiday is like a lazy drive in the country, not the Indy 500.
So, as I reached the other side of the medical campus, I reminded myself: Life isn’t meant to be rushed through. Don’t let others define your pace. Don’t measure your life’s successes with someone else’s yardstick. And poof, the crabbiness was gone.
The Christmas holiday is over, I just celebrated a birthday and now we’ve turned the page on a new year. So, for me this time of year is a very introspective one. The holiday with friends and family was lovely. My birthday reminded me how blessed I am to have friends from so many different aspects and interests of my life and children who, at a young age, truly enjoy doing something nice to make someone else feel special. As I enter 2012, by my yardstick, 2011 has been a huge success. My wish for all parents in 2012 is that you think about, define, enjoy, and celebrate your personal yardsticks and help your children to create their own.
Note to self: talk to kids about their yardsticks tonight.