Happy Holidays

Me: Guys, I'm so sorry it's been such a boring day for you. [sigh]
Lila: What do you mean? The Christmas tree lights are on, we saw "Toy Story," we talked to Nona and Papa... We had a great day! 
AJ: AND we ate popcorn.  
Me: [smile]
~ December-something 2011
Christmas morning ~ 2011

I've been consumed with the kids having fun and enjoying the holidays, whilst somehow trying to maintain a level of generosity and kindness witnessed solely within the pages of "Little House on the Prairie" books and Publix commercials. Not easy. In fact, impossible for me. I've been trying terrifically hard to make this season memorable, mellow, and beautiful: "Was today fun enough for them?" "When are these refusal-to-share smack downs going to cease?" "Are pink Chuck Taylors appropriate holiday shoes?" "I didn't have time to call anyone I love today." "Should we be baking actual cookies from scratch?""Why do I not know anything about this elusive, widely revered LeapPad?" "Hot damn, I gained four more pounds." All the while, I was accomplishing little and sounding (at least in my own head) like an escapee of some sort. From an asylum, from Christmas Bizarro World, who knows. But I wasn't sounding like myself.

Then along came Reason. She may get nudged here and there by Guilt, and the every-now-and-then invitations from Insanity and Holy-Shit-J.Crew's-50%-Off!, but she's steadfast and cool in her refusal to go overboard with holiday bullshit. [And, oddly enough, still makes time for Corona and Lime on alternate Fridays.] ANYWAY, Reason looked at me straight in the face mid-December and simply said, "Jen. Chill."

So I did. I chilled. And I ended up finding happiness in so, so many different things...
  • The Wal-mart cashier who told me (with regard to my mixed mesclun greens): "Girrrrrrlllll, shut UP. Your salad's gonna be FLY! Merry Christmas!"
  • The bearded, smoking gentleman in the red truck who let me ahead of him in traffic, the day before Christmas, during gridlock. My Volvo grocery-getter with the Boston Red Sox and reindeer antler adornments oddly connecting with his Confederate flag emblazoned '82 Ford pickup, if just for a moment...
  • My mom's everyday texts with cozy photos and messages from 'up north'.
  • Heddy's successful operation.
  • Walking barefoot outside in December.
  • Lila declaring: "You know what I love? I love best friends."
  • AJ telling me that I'm "more beautiful than forever." (This, of course, after his summoning from the downstairs bathroom, "Will someone please wipe my butt?!?")
  • My cousins and niece flourishing in college. (And for that matter, my gorgeous nephew excelling at FDR High...)
  • Lila and AJ wondering aloud to each other: "Why do you think Nona and Papa and Kirstie and David and Patty and Paul and Uncle Tony and Aunt Penny and Aunt Heddy and Alex and Anna can't be here for Christmas?" [So sad and sweet. They wanted everyone together for the holiday and were really confused as to why this couldn't happen. This screams Christmas to me...]
  • And Santa's beautiful gift to me, that has more meaning than it just being a kickass beachy bike. Meet Mike:
(Mike makes me exceptionally happy because Santa remembered how much I liked it from a long time ago, spent time putting it together, and kept moving it to secret locations to keep it a surprise on Christmas morning. And maybe also because Mrs. Claus got her hubby a very small, extremely boring chair for his office, and he smiled and was OK with it... Just happy to make me happy. Love you, Ang.)

I finally figured out the key to happiness was in my monkeys' little Old Navy pockets all along. They knew it was all about comfort and family and friends. It's not so much about the red & green, the sparkling lights, and the shiny new Christmas shoes, but maybe about the everyday efforts we make, the little moments that glue it all together...

As much as I may try to make things beautiful, Reason lets me know that they already are.

I guess that's all.

And that's pretty beautiful.
Holiday concert monkey air guitar


Sue Schmidt said…
Lovely Jen! Tears in my eyes. It's all so simple if we just don't get all wrapped up in it......Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family!
Dee said…
Hi - I don't think I've ever commented on the blog of someone I've never met before, but I wanted to tell you how much I love your words and photos, simply beautiful! I too worry that I'm not providing enough fun for my 5-year-old, and it's compounded because she's an only child so I'm constantly trying to plan play dates and activities to keep her entertained. Really, though, her most favorite thing to do is just hang out with me and play just about anything. Isn't being a mom the best and hardest job you've ever had? Happy New Year!
JennyCB said…
Sue and Dee, thank you for your comments, and Happy New Year! Great moms like you are my inspiration. xo

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