I relax here beside my old synthetic scotch pine and realize that Christmas is one week away. There are seven days left to do all the things they say one has to do this time of year. And yet…
Some are still in transit and may not arrive on time.
The house is a disaster. Flakes of royal icing fall like snow from gingerbread houses and leave a white dusting atop the wet mittens, hats and scarves that cover the dirty kitchen floor. Icicle lights along the roof's edge stop three yards shy of the end of the house and dangle alongside a support beam, adding a tacky flair to our cozy cabin in the woods. Someone left a loaded caulking gun resting innocently near the dining table. You get the picture.
No cards have been sent, or newsletter written, or cookies baked, or family portrait made.
A few years ago I would have panicked and joined the woeful song of the masses: "I'm not ready for Christmas!" Then our family's lives were turned upside down and we were forced to discover the things that matter, buried beneath the stuff we thought we had to have and the things we thought we had to do.
Sitting here today amid this happy mess, hearing my children’s voices as they romp and play in the snow, thinking of guests who will arrive this week, needing, not a polished house, but a comfortable home to rest body and soul… I am at peace. And more ready for Christmas than I’ve ever been before.
(Update 12/20/12: I wrote this two years ago. This year I told my teenage girls if they want Christmas lights outside, they may have at it. They decided it wasn't worth the trouble. Another stressor eliminated! Don't get me wrong: I love Christmas and its trimmings. If you have the time, energy and heart to "go all out," don't let me stop you. I'll enjoy your lights with you! Here's another way I've shed a few more pounds of stress: I really wanted to sew a (they might be reading this) for each of my four girls. But I like to keep as much of my sanity in tact as possible, so instead of placing a finished project under the tree for each of them, I'm going to put the fabric in gift bags along with a homemade coupon worth "A Sewing Day with Mom." (Although if you remember this post you may be laughing just now, and I don't blame you.)