Welcome to my “December Daily” project! My goal is to dedicate serious time to writing each day this month. I want to have at least 25 stories by January 1st. Some will be just for our family yearbook; but I hope to post frequently, as “sharing” is currently the part of writing I’m struggling with most. They’ll be more laid back and conversational than my normal style, and I hope you’ll enjoy.
I'm not in the mood for Christmas this year.
Not in a terribly scrooge-like way; and perhaps “not in the mood” isn't the best way to describe it. I just don't have the same can't-wait-to-decorate, celebrate, make magic like I usually do. I'm fully aware of the several factors that may be influencing my frame of mind:
-We spent thanksgiving out of town, staying as long as we possibly could—which lead to a marathon of a weekend—which made for an exhausting start to the week—which might have contributed to the cold that hit me like a train and kept in me in bed several days in a row. No one feels festive after all that.
-We won't be able to spend Christmas with my side of the family, and that's always a little hard.
-This is the first holiday season since losing my father-in-law, and that's always a little hard, too.
But after considering all those things and reflecting for awhile, I decided it's not foundationally a lack of Christmas spirit I’m feeling. It's that we're in a season of in-between.
Life has seasons of trial, rest, sickness, grief, joy, waiting, expectancy, work, struggle—and I would consider all of those completely different categories. This one, being in-between, is somewhat strange to describe. We aren't waiting for an answer or for a specific event; we have goals and desires for our family. We have game plans (from A-Z) on how to achieve them. We know what to do and how to put the work in, and we're crossing off the small goals on the way to bigger ones. But similar to a season of waiting (though less uncertain), we're just not at the place we know we're going yet.
One of the goals (the easiest one to describe and share, at least) is buying a house. We've more than overstayed our welcome in our current home. It's hard to want to put up a tree in a living room that's already too small. It's hard to lovingly arrange decorations in a place that doesn't feel like home, especially when I don't really want it to feel like home anymore. Right now, it has become just a passing lane on our journey.
That’s just something tangible. There are many more personal things keeping me and Anthony both feeling we're in an in-between place.
The real stuff that “Christmas” is made of—the pause, the wonder, the magic—it's just not appealing this year. I don't want to pause. I/We have worked hard to get here and it's finally paying off in progress. I want to stay focused! And I don't feel as inspired to create magic for Abbott, when he has grown (so recently!) enough to have real conversations—actual exchanges of thought with him about the world he sees. I still want to protect his innocence and sense of wonder of course, but these talks we've been having where He's processing the knowledge/feeling that Jesus is a very real thing, and what exactly that means to him—these are incredible. They fill my heart and spirit like I never imagined possible. They are sweeter to me than any North Pole fairy tale.
I know the value of Christmas spirit and the Christmas season. I know the value of fairy tales and have no intention of breaking the real news about Santa Claus yet. I understand how important it is to experience small moments and savor them. I actually consider that one of my strengths! I can point to multiple small, but eventually life-altering moments through the course of my life where I stopped and took everything in. I purposely cataloged every physical thing around me, every person in every relationship, every thought and emotion I felt; collecting those things because they'd never be the same again. I will certainly continue to do that!
So this is not another sentimental Instagram-caption-reminder to enjoy the little things. This is, if you need it, the prompting to give yourself permission to just be who you are and where you are right now; and not have to particularly enjoy it. I’m glad that I'm not content with who and where I am right now—because if I was, I would never move forward to anything else. I think a little discontentment is sometimes good. I remain focused on my bigger goals and aware of the small choices I need to make daily to get there.
I promise I will enjoy this Christmas season. Reluctantly putting up the tree and unpacking my beloved nutcrackers warmed my heart up a little bit. Hearing Abbott declare excitedly, “Wow! I waited all year! It's beautiful! Call Nana, Papa, Josh, Kimmy, Austin, they will love it.” warmed my heart up considerably. I'm not a scrooge, a Grinch, or even an Elsa. I'm not a cliché small-town Hallmark movie character, either. I am just in-between. And right here, here I am.