I took a nap today. I had to; that brick wall I’ve been speeding toward decided to firmly plant itself in front of my oncoming face. I slammed into it, fell backward toward the couch and slept the interrupted naptime sleep of a mom home alone with two boys, two parakeets and a dog.
It was blissful.
But I am still exhausted. And stressed.
Despite getting a decent start on cookie baking, I haven’t made the fun “decorate these in really gaudy ways” sugar cookies. I don’t know what dessert I’m making tomorrow evening for our Christmas Eve dinner at our house. I forgot to pick up the cloves that my husband needs for the ham. There are presents left to wrap. We forgot an Advent activity. The bathrooms aren’t clean. Earlier, when looking for my green sweater, I pulled out about 25% of my closet in a panic; I’ve yet to hang everything back up. I still don’t know what I’m wearing on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I still haven’t mailed the Christmas cards. I did that thing where I wrapped most of the boys presents, looked at the pile and thought, “That doesn’t look like a lot.” Despite being a lot. I look at my Christmas Ideas pinboard and realize that I haven’t done anything. Or enough. Or something.
I’m trying to find my center, a little room to breathe. Some perspective.
In church this morning, our Lady Pastor focused her sermon on the fact that whether you’re “ready” or not — whether you bake another four dozen cookies or wrap all of the presents or sprinkle reindeer food or mail the Christmas cards or clean the bathrooms — Christmas morning will arrive. That is the gift in and of itself.
And so I force myself to breathe. To let go a little bit.
This afternoon, we got our Advent on and took cookies and cards to our three immediate, super-nice neighbors. They have been a joy to live next to since moving here in March. The boys helped put some cookies on a holiday plate, cover it with foil and tape the cards to the top. They made a plan who got to carry the plate, who got to knock on the door at each house. They said their Merry Christmases. They wished Happy New Years.
As I stood back and watched it play out, I watched our older neighbors answer their doors and smile. I watched them wish their Merry Christmases, their Happy New Years. I watched their eyes light up. I watched the spirit of the season spread across their face. I watched love. In action.
I’m probably not going to catch up on everything that needs to be done by bedtime tomorrow night.
Christmas will still come. We will still celebrate, still give thanks. We will have love in so many forms, from so many people. Some perspective, a shift of focus, a breath worth breathing.
A Merry Christmas indeed.