i am just gonna say it.
i may be attacked by all the crafty domestic goddesses in blog land,
but i am gonna do it anyway.
don't you ever feel completely burdened by the festivities that we all just collided with?
i mean we work and work
and have such high expectations for our special traditions and relationships, and then real life happens.
and that real life just happens to take place on Christmas Eve and Christmas day....and it isn't as perfect as it was in our imaginations.....
as i mentioned before, this is a new kinda christmas for me.
my sisters weren't here.
my sisters are a HUGE part of what keeps me connected to the fact that i had an awesome "first family".
i mean, really people, if you like the reed life, you shoulda seen the life MY mom made for us when we were little.
She was the best mom in the world.
really the best.
and i have been trying to think critically lately about why i think that.
what made her so great?
was it her traditions?
was it her cooking?
was it her loud head flung back laugh?
cause those were all awesome.
and, not being the shy type, some of those things you could come to my house today and recognize in me and my reed life....
but i don't think that is what made her so great.
i think the thing that made her so great was her unreserved willingness to love her family in whatever circumstances she was presented.
i think i would miss the point if i was to hold onto a certain tradition of a brunch or a special food that she made, because that in itself was not her love.
her love was in the fact that no matter what was happening that year she could figure out how to show her love.
maybe time was limited one year, or money was short another, or there was plenty the year after that.
maybe some years it was just our family and other extended family would be in town.
she seemed to be able to roll with things and not get caught up in the details.
now don't get me wrong, she was not perfect.
she did take on alot.
and that is where i personally sometimes get stuck, since i think her personality could handle a bit more action than mine can.
the key is that, from my memory, not often did she allow things to get to the place where the "things"(traditions and food and stuff) were the focus over the relationships.
now as a kid, it is hard to separate that out.
it's a little deep.
i remember one year, my main memory was that we had a formal christmas brunch and at every place setting was a ginny doll for my sister and i. wowza. that's crazy.
then i remember another christmas and my main best gift was a VHS tape that she had recorded dozens of "I Love Lucy" episodes on while i was at school.
both took some effort.
i think the second one, she probably felt may have let me down, since that particular year had been tight financially.
but as i look back on those two very different years (they must have felt like night and day to her)
one thing stands out as a common tradition.
my mother new me.
she had a relationship with me.
she saw me and what i liked and loved me with whatever she had.
she didn't let different circumstances get in the way of communicating her love to me.
well, this is my point,
this is incredibly freeing.
i think that since she has been gone, we(my sisters and i) have tried to hold onto some of the traditions that she loved as a way to hold onto her love,
and that is not a bad idea, as long as we don't get mixed up into thinking that the actual tradition was the thing that made her that great mom that we love and miss every day.
the tradition was an avenue for her to show us love.
and i just bet that she was hoping and knowing that one day we would understand her heart and gain more than a childish view of her mothering.
there are alot of things i may do differently with all of this in mind.
i may throw away more.
i may buy more premade food items.
i may allow myself to take a year off from something with the excuse that i have 3 kids seven and under....and i just don't want to do it!
i may choose the option that sounds fun to me, since this is where the big laugh can enter the picture.
and in choosing each of those things that on the surface look unfamiliar and different than what she did, i will remind myself that i AM choosing her shoes.
she taught me to choose and to edit where necessary.
this IS the tradition.
the tradition is limits and love, so that my mother's legacy of love will live on in Jake, Ty and Ella and their memories of the reed life.
i am telling you all this in hopes that it may free you as well.
there are SO MANY things to be inspired by on blogs, and i love looking around at the amazing ideas.
but you also need a heavy hand to remind yourself what the real value is in all the crafts and treats and tips.
the value is that those happy inspirations are avenues to show your love to your families, and nothing in the world should be put before really looking at your children and seeing what THEY need.
it may involve time (which is the the hottest commodity around here) and if it does then i MUST figure out how to get that.
it may involve listening, so i MUST tune out other voices in my head.
and i may need to prioritize some down time for myself so that i can be healthy enough to offer anything to these needy little beings,
since i am just fooling myself if i think that kids can't pick up on a mom who is not at peace with herself and afraid to be alone with her own thoughts....
so this is me laying some burdens down.
i know if i trade in my sorrow and shame, of not engaging with my family at christmas the way i dream about,
i can lay those things down for the joy of the Lord.
that's what my mom, Cindie had.
the joy of the Lord.
and everyone knew it.
that's what i want.
just some food for thought friends.....
just a bit.
i know this is a lot to throw at you when you are just trying to take down the stockings and tree.
i have been so so sick, so this is coming at you through a fog of coughing and fevers, so if i seem rambling and incoherent, let's just blame it on that, kay?