“A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow.” –Charlotte Brontë
I can’t read this quote without picturing feathers poking out of my ears.
I know we're all struggling to get back into routine after Thanksgiving plus get a leg-up on all the holiday stuff. I’m certainly hurting for sleep, but when I finally go to bed, my mind scours endless lists. Last night I actually prayed I’d remember to call the insurance company and pay the toll bill today. I know. Lame, right? Here there’s famine and loss and disease and I’m like, “God, help me remember to pay the stupid bills.”
Every year I tell myself I’m going to be smart, restrained. I’m going to make time to enjoy what really matters in the Christmas season. And every year, I spend way too much money, frantically bake a bazillion cookies, and make one or two poor gift choices.
For instance, last night I was determined to take advantage of any and all Cyber Monday deals, even if that meant sitting glued to a chair, endlessly clicking through clogged websites. My mom’s been looking for a new handbag, and Sam Moon had free shipping. I figured, if I can’t find something there, then the right bag just doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, Chunky kept trying to help with my Cyber Monday shopping. His tastes run a little flashy.
Once I reigned in my 7-year-old fashion guru, I clicked through page after page of purses. And you know what? I DID NOT find the right one. So I didn’t buy anything. For me, this is growth. I still went to bed and imagined all the names on my list and mentally arranged purchased a yet-to-be-purchased presents beneath them, and, then, yes, prayed about the bills. Come to think of it, I’m sure I’m not the only one doing that right about now.
It’s not all fuss and bother though. I love opening our box of Christmas books every year. I love that my boys still let me read them aloud. I love that every year we wonder how in the world we’re going to put up a 12-foot tree in our living room and every year it fits.
I love that Kory and I have the same argument about white lights versus colored lights. We'll be in our nineties, and he'll still be trying to string those obnoxious neon LED lights all over the house, and I'll shake my cane at him and say, "You can put those outside! Only classy white lights on MY Christmas tree." And I love that we watch the same stupid movie every year—Just Friends, which is NOT a traditional family film but somehow has become a tradition for the two of us.
I look forward to the annual Christmas party our friends' give that lasts longer than planned because of a board game or heated round of Guitar Hero. Inevitably, several children lose the battle to exhaustion and have to be carried to the car, arms dangling limp over Daddy's back. I think I may have exited the party in the same manner a time or two.
And then there are the dozens of letters Chunky will write to Santa. (This year he discovered the Amazon wish list and asked me what Santa's email address was.) I look forward to the hours Monkey will spend quietly absorbed with new Lego sets on Christmas day. Legos are the only thing in the universe that CAN quietly absorb Monkey. Oh dear! I just had a horrible Lego/Borg mash-up vision starring my ten-year-old pop into my head.
It's time to put the feathers to rest.
So what about you? What gets you ruffled this time of year? And what bits of craziness do you savor?
What Do Readers Want?
20 hours ago