One of my most treasured times of the year is the week after Christmas before the blank slated new year begins. I can finally exhale and take in some of the holiday magic I crave. The new toy and gadget appeal is in full effect, the fridge is stocked with our favorites, and I can bask in the post-Christmas glow. The week provides us with a much needed reset and a less frantic pace. We enjoy our visits from extended family and friends with more comfort and ease.
As my boys, somewhat begrudgingly, entered back into their routines earlier this month, rising much too early for their liking, I reflected on our Christmas break. This year the Santa gig was up for my oldest. I know he’s been letting it linger for awhile now amid chatter from friends and classmates who no longer believe in the Christmas magic. Being so full of hope, he could always come up with a sound argument in the big guy’s favor. We know too that he wanted to continue believing for us, that he was reluctant for the change, that knowing for certain, would bring.
The three of us were gathered at the kitchen table much too late at the end of a long day, Christmas a week away, and I took in the pause before he began. I knew what he was about to say, and I steadied myself. Knowing how truth is like air to him, I always wondered just how this moment would go down. He kept eyeing us as he spoke, a protectiveness lining his words. Once we confirmed all the things he pieced together, he turned to us and said, “you really did such an awesome job making it so magical for us.”
We let those words hang still and then settle. He wasn’t disappointed he was grateful. There was sadness, but he led with gratitude.
He recounted all of the good things, put together all of those moments realizing now who truly pulled it off. We could almost see the reel of Christmases past playing in his mind. Grace was so abundant in his discovery, and it quickly turned into him wanting to be part of the magic, a promise to help keep it going for as long as we could. In our weary mode we readily accepted his help. His first choice to join in the conspiracy was moving the elf. Amen.
While, I have felt like the growing up was always an uninvited lurking guest ready to tap me on the shoulder and tell me it was time to move on, I acknowledge my tendency is to want to stay, knowing how fleeting it all can be. We hear how fast it goes and we know it, yet it can be overloaded and exhausting; childhood as the binge-watching of magical, wondrous milestones (among the hard, difficult, messy, sleep-deprived moments) wanting to spread the joy out over more time. When things are good, when an age is sweet, friends are gathered, you are with your people and they are healthy and happy, we want the goodness to linger.
As January closes out, I happily send the dreariness on its way as we slowly, but surely trudge closer to Spring. I can’t help but see how in most things, we are really waiting for the visual and tangible proof of our hard efforts. We tend to rush past the growth, want the quick fix, and miss what the everyday grinding, carving, creating, does to us. How it changes us if we let it.
It is my hope as winter hangs on to see it as an offering to embrace the growth that is done in this season, below the surface. To emerge having fully lived out, and not simply tolerated, the days. To not be so consumed by the end that I miss what begins in the beautiful rites of passage in childhood. To appreciate what was and honor what comes next. To walk through the sadness leading with gratitude. I want us to take heart there are more good things to come, and to live from that abundance.
The kids, they don’t let us stay in one place too long, they live from the grace of knowing there is more goodness to come. On this one, I am taking their natural lead.