Thursday, November 20, 2014
It happens every year.
Twice a year, for me. At the beginning of every summer, I have grand plans of celebrating the freedom of summer, relaxing and enjoying each sun-filled moment. But before summer even begins, the calendar begins to fill with obligations - usually good, happy ones, but obligations nonetheless - and I feel it. That undeniable deflation of realizing that this summer will be much like the last. We won't get it all done. I'll probably be a little stressed, and much of the long awaited time will be frittered away doing goodness knows what. The long awaited summer time soon a distant memory.
I feel that way at the beginning of the summer and again when the holidays roll around. My cheerful, Christmas-loving friends start in with their "X days til Christmas!" countdowns and I can practically see the Christmas season fill up - but not in the intentional, Christ-centered way I hope and plan.
I started my yearly spreadsheet last week - list of gifts to buy, things to do, parties to attend, new things to try. Looking over the next few weeks color coded in text, my eyes blurred. "Once we get back from our trip to Virginia, I'll be able to relax," I found myself thinking. "Well, at least after we unpack the van and then I do all the laundry and put the suitcases away. Then." That's right - the trip after Christmas.
That's how it is for Moms at Christmas. I know because every year I start out intentional. Peace-focused. Each year we buy less and less even as our family grows and we strive to hone in on "what really matters." Yet each year I still reach the end of the season and feel quite a bit like I've just run a marathon - and hardly remember it.
But it's not just Christmas. Or the holidays. Or summer. Life as a Mother in the center of a family will always be a great deal of work - but also a great deal of blessing. We may not have the luxury of tenderly holding every moment and soaking it in, the way everyone always tells us to. But we have the privilege of living it in the way it comes - often like a hurricane, time marching on while we hang on tight.
Today I started my pre-holiday prep by catching up on laundry and organizing one of the kids bedrooms. Life and daily jobs won't stop for me just because children are on break or husbands get holidays off work. But instead of wallowing in the knowledge that my vocation means daily, 365, no vacation work - I can take joy in knowing that I have the privilege of creating beautiful traditions and memories for my family. That's really what it comes down to. No burn out required.
This year, and each year, the only thing I want this year is more Joy. Joy isn't dependent on a quiet, clean space or a relaxing day. Joy is possible right in the midst of the crazy whirl of wonder that our family holidays bring.
Next weekend family will flood in from all over and so it will begin. Busy, noisy, loud, crazy. I'll do what mothers do, the behind the scenes work that no one really sees unless they do it, too. And I'll enjoy every exhausting minute.
All I want for this year is more Joy. And the wonderful thing is, I know that I'll surely receive it.
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