The fire in the fireplace glowed with orange and red beauty. The Christmas tree twinkled in a soft yellow light. I slowly sipped my wine as I listened to Bing Crosby sing “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.” My little boy was asleep in the corner chair bundled, my other son playing with trains quietly on the floor and my husband played on his computer. Everyone was happy, quiet and peaceful.
This was a perfect moment during the holidays a few years ago and it was so special I still think about it today. It lasted maybe 10 minutes, but it was long enough to stick with me all these years. This moment was perfect—but those holidays were not.
That Christmas morning someone cried they didn’t get the Transformer toy they had hoped for, the other cried because they didn’t get the toy they had secretly told Santa in a letter that was never written and it was the he had ever wanted. Then there were too many days off and everyone wanted to wring each others’ necks by the end, too many plane rides, too many suitcases to pack and too many bags to lug all over the airports—until finally Christmas was over, then New Year’s.
Just writing about it makes me tired and overwhelmed for the looming holidays ahead! And yet, I’m not. I am actually excited, thrilled and at peace with the coming insanity.
This year I’ll stay home with my husband and kids for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. It’s the first time in years we’ll be in Los Angeles. We’ll have no family with us, our close friends will all be at their families’ homes and it’ll just be me and our small family of four without any specific tradition.
For some this might sound perfect but I know my kids: too much time together without play dates or school makes everyone stir crazy. I’m simply looking for a few good moments in our new home over the holidays. Hopefully those brief, but good moments will turn into lasting memories, allowing our family to feel even more at home.
There will be good and bad moments, no matter where we are or what we do. My perfect memory might contradict my idea that perfection during the holidays is a myth, but here’s why it’s not. On that particular night from so many years ago, it was 69 degrees—not romantically cold and certainly not snowy. The fire was fake in our fake fireplace and the sleeping child was only asleep because he and his brother had been rolling around on the ground, wrestling to the point of exhaustion (for both them and me).
What I’ve come to realize: the holidays are a whirlwind—and I’m ready for it all. Perfection is but a moment appreciated by the person present enough to embrace it. The most important thing is to just stop—and take it all in as it happens.
We’re just parents trying to survive a month of intense emotion, let’s give ourselves a break and stop worrying about a perfect day or a perfect week. Instead, let’s hope that when those small perfect moments come during this hectic holiday season, we are aware enough to be present in and just enjoy them.
Happy holidays to all you wonderful, resilient and hardworking parents!
Featured Photo Courtesy: freestocks.org via Unsplash