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Declaring to Value our Time and Find Peace this December

posted December 18, 2014 by Moms in Tow (Kara)

by Elizabeth Morales


When did it become December 2nd? Our tree is decorated, our Elf (named Harry...as in Potter), is back up on the shelf again, and the kids are anxiously counting the days until Christmas, using the not-so-fancy countdown board we found on clearance at the end of last season. We just finished up celebrating two kids' birthdays and then Thanksgiving, and now it's time to prepare for Christmas. Seriously, how did it happen?
I'll forever be amazed that since becoming parents, time just seems to disappear. It continually slips away, through our fingertips, always just out of reach. Although we'd like to catch it, grasp it and stop it from moving forward, it's impossible. Everywhere I go, when I see friends or family, someone says, "Can you believe it's already ________?" We fill in the blank with the year, or whatever holiday that seems to have arrived too soon, or time for school to start, or time for school to end. Today, I'm saying, "Can you believe it's already December?" Very soon I'll be announcing, "I cannot believe it's 2015!"
Something enlightening popped in front of my eyes yesterday which really inspired me to stop. Stop worrying about time. Stop fretting over the never-ending to-do lists of December. Stop, look, listen and enjoy what is in front of us.
This something quietly came across my Facebook feed, along with all the pictures of cats and newly decorated Christmas trees and inappropriate jokes. It was a beautifully written declaration made by my cousin's wife. She had openly declared to slow down. To enjoy her two babies. Her husband. Her life. She vowed to forget about the hassle of baking and gift buying and parties that inevitably make us all stressed and crazy during the holidays. She had decided what was most important to her at this point in their beautiful life, and she laid it all out there for Facebook-land to see. Maybe people scrolled past it, or maybe people thought she was suddenly Grinchy. I'm hoping that most people saw the same beauty in her ideas that I did.
She has inspired me.
For the past few weeks, I had been thinking about what is looming over my head this Christmas season. The calendar is filing up quickly, as our month is busy with travel and hosting and volunteering and shopping and baking and on and on. I'm the type of person who wants to do it all, see everybody, and be everywhere. Are you?
I'm thankful to have an insightful husband who can see this struggle I carry within myself. He recently removed one item from our plate. I fought him till the end, worrying about how it would affect others if we simply erased it from the calendar. Now that I'm officially free from the worry of this event, I can breathe a little easier as I prepare for my children's favorite holiday.
So, as Mark did his part to remove a hosting event from my holiday duties, I am going to do mine. I'm not ready to be as bold as my cousin and delete everything. However, I do have one Christmas obligation that I'm declaring right here, right now, simply to ignore this year. Do you have something you continue to do, year after year, but it seems to bring more harm to your holiday spirit than cheer? Will you join my cousin and me in letting go?
Here's my official statement. There's no turning back now:
I will not worry about sending a hundred Christmas cards this year.
I will not stress about posing my four children for that impossible perfect Christmas card photo. They are adorable and funny and loving and wild, and I'm not going to compare my picture to all of the others that come through my mailbox this year.
I will not spend hours going through last year's cards, my address file, the post-office or Shutterfly, looking for that "just right" card that says who we are this year.
I won't feel the sense of sadness that inevitably occurs when I send cards to people year after year who never send them to me.
I will carefully select one glittery, cheerful and sentimental card to send to my only living grandparent, letting her know that we value and appreciate the gift that she is to our family. I will encourage our children to send cards to their grandparents and those who mean the most to them.
I will gaze, with a smile on my face, as my children open the mailbox to find someone has thought of us this year.
I will cherish each and every card that does come to our home, from near and far. I will take time to read the messages, examine the sweet photos and feel thankful for those who do carry on this Christmas tradition I love so much.
I vow that next December, I will have the foresight to eliminate other needless duties from our schedule, freeing up time to send Christmas cards to the family and friends I so deeply value. I kindly ask those with whom we usually exchange cards: please don't take us off your lists. Our entryway would not be the same this year without your festive greetings taped all around. I'm still thinking of you, remembering you and wishing you a wonderful holiday season.
Can you think of something that you might want to remove from your busy life this season? Do you need a little nudge to finally give yourself permission to just let it go? Here I am, nudging you, ever-so-gently, to do what's most important to you and your family this year. Imagine all of the new memories you can create once you free yourself of the obligation. Imagine the peace.

Elizabeth Morales is a teacher turned stay-at-home-mom to four hopping children. She and her husband have been parents together in Indiana, Michigan and Japan, where she has learned to juggle being a mother, wife and community leader. She is the author of Mama Loves You and Chocolate, Too and writes for Lakeside Living Magazine. You can find more of Elizabeth's inspirations and imperfections of modern motherhood at http://mamalovesyouandchocolatetoo.blogspot.com/ and on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/mamalovesyouandchocolatetoo).

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