Tuesday, December 3

The novelty and wonder of Christmas is not dependent on me.

This morning I had a simple errand to run: a visit to our family pediatrician for Benjamin's one year check.  The skies were batik gray as we pulled out in the Great White Beast: Benjamin, Aiden, Addie and I.  Fog rolling, as the temps have warmed.  The whole great day of possibilities was before us. And I've had plans.

Hours later we made it home.  One appointment had turned into four.  Kiddos were exhausted. I was exhausted having held down a wiggling twelve month old for an examination, an EKG, a chest x-ray and then blood work while convincing (in vain) a three year old she didn't need to use her blue lollipop as face paint. 
Oh, heck, use it as face paint. 
At least someone in this hot, crowded waiting room will be happy. 

Did you know that pediatric chest x-rays involve locking the child in a plastic tube, arms above their heads and that if they are rolly-polly, as our fellow is, their chub will squish out through the tube, with nowhere else to go? 

I didn't either.

Plans tanked.  Stuff to do took precedence over all. the. stuff. I want to do with the kids this month to make it beautiful for them.  I realized today that waking up with obligations at a choke hold around the neck is not normal. 
Or necessary. 
Or needed.
And no-how does it glorify God.


I wish I had the time to plan out charitable causes to support with our children. To make extra meals, bake extra cookies, visit a nursing home, have friends over, throw a wrapping party.
I wish I had the gumption to move a friendly gnome around the house. Add to the wonder of Advent.
I wish I had wrapped twenty four Christmas themed books to open each day to build up the excitement at counting down the days. 
There's a lot of good I'd like to do but the most good, which I need to do, involves just loving my family.


Goodness, I cannot even get the laundry taken care of in a twenty four hour period.

In all honesty, I ought to feel like a champ because I managed to pull three boxes of decorations out of the attic, find lights that fit the tree amongst the strands of half lit bulbs, and negotiate world peace among siblings by dividing the ornaments into six perfect piles of perfectly prim evenness.

Mary on her donkey, which the papa carved by hand, manages to move one step each day, a candle lighting her way along the wooden spiral at the table.
I stumble forward too.
My kids are fed.  Joyful, even.  They laugh, play, live.  If their laundry isn't sorted or put away, they could care less.

Somehow, minus elves and books and garland and cookie cutter cookies and salt dough ornaments and all the pinteresty, so very lovely things I wish to do with them, they live.

Mother guilt during Advent.  Somehow, I think this grieves the heart of God. 
The wonder and the impossibility of a virgin birth does not need my feet-stuck-to-earth contribution to make it wondrous. It exists of its own merit.

There ought to be a twelve days of Christmas, twelve step program to pry the load off parents in regard to the Christmas obligations society would have us carry - that we would have ourselves carry in the name of being a "good mom".


I'd like to finish by telling you what I have planned for tomorrow, but do you know, I have absolutely no idea what tomorrow with these seven souls holds or what their needs will be until I step into the day.  I can tell you that I'd like to be with them instead of with my to-do list, that I'd like to read to them if there is a moment that allows but if the day crashes and their read-aloud time comes via librivox or Radio Theatre, I'll be okay with that.  I'd like to excitedly show you the craft supplies and Advent ideas I've gathered, but really, you don't need that.  Chances are, if I'm in a pinch and someone's under the weather and the dog is chewing a diaper and dinner's burned, then... then I might throw out the craft supplies as a life saving ring.

The novelty and wonder of Christmas is not dependent on me.



Genevieve Larsen said...

Thanks, after the mall Santa Claus today I needed that.

Tasha said...

I just love you and your writing. I have been following you for a while now. At least 2-3 births. Each and every time I come to your blog I leave with a peaceful feeling. And knowing that another mom has the same thoughts as I do. Although you may have 5 more children than me we still struggle and DELIGHT in the same things. I hope this day is a good one for you and your family. Stay warm and keep blogging. Love from Texas.

Michele said...

You, dear Hannah, are a Very Wise Woman. And you are doing a wonderful job. :-) A very wonderful job. If we have all the pinterest and crafts in the world, but don't have love...

Momma Bug said...

Absolutely fabulous! Who can't relate to what you wrote? Such a good reminder and kind of encouraging to know I (and every other momma) isn't alone it the list of "stuff" that will surely make the season more wonderful.
Life is one train derailment after another I think, and like the children of Israel who were held captive by their enemies time and again, I suspect these hiccups may serve to draw us close to the One who wants just to enjoy us, and for us to know Him.

Love and hugs to you dear friend~


Unknown said...

"The novelty and wonder of Christmas is not dependent on me."

I love that, Hannah. Wise words, indeed. And much needed during this season where the toll of a "late" Thanksgiving and plenty of colds going around the kids has run its course on me, leaving me exhausted and, yes, feeling guilty.

I am reminded how short this season of life can be with our kids demanding so much of our attention. Thank you for this post! You are an amazing woman and a wonderful mama!

AJ said...

Hannah, thank you so much for always being so transparent and genuine! I was suffering major guilt just now as I realized I'd told my 3 year old for an hour that I couldn't read her Christmas book because I was too busy trying to decorate. You know what, those decorations got thrown back in the box and we hopped onto the couch :)We're going to intentionally keep living and enjoying life through this holiday season! Thank you for the reminder!!

Anonymous said...

How is your little fella?

loui said...

Brilliant! Ton weight off a lot of mummy's shoulders. How simple get true. As for pintrest ( which I love, don't get me wrong) I've come to realise I will only achieve the pintrest life when everyone has fled the nest... The very same people I was trying to achieve it for. You are doing such a Wonderful job as you are...even if it means squeezing your child's cuddly bits into a tube ;-) hope he is well. Hannah you are an inspiration to all. Like your crafted Mary..just keep plodding on and all will be well. sarah x

Carolyne said...

So eloquent.........and *that* is, in-a-nutshell, the Entirety of the Christmas message and *why* He chose to come among us~! ♥

Anonymous said...

i love this post. just what i needed to hear.

Debbie said...

Beautifully said and this definitely struck a chord for me!