Do you hear what I hear? The sounds of chaos, complaining, and capitalism. Mostly the complaining is coming from me, to be fair. I really do love Christmas, but some parts of everyday life seem harder during this season. There are more plans, but less time. More to get, but less money. And so on. I get tired.
This year, I was ready to heartily endorse a no frills Christmas, skipping the décor and all of it. It is so much hassle. Then my daughter, my sweet daughter, told me how she has looked forward all year to using the tree decorations she picked out in last year’s post-Christmas sale. And my heart melted. Heather and I assisted her in getting the tree up and she created a beautiful product in no time.
And my creative and sensitive son helped me do some shopping. He recalled such specific aspects of loved ones that the shopping felt fun and inspired. We breezed through it.
Then my brilliant wife set up a gift wrapping system that had each item wrapped, under the tree or even shipped with no delay. So now I sit here, 12 days before Christmas, with no hassle left. I’m looking at a decorated tree with wrapped gifts under it and I’m full of gratitude.
I’m not grateful for the stuff, but for the reminder that relationships have the ability to help heal stress (and not just cause it). And, when I notice that, celebration is an overflow, not something I have to muster. I’m not trying to talk myself out of the hard because this season can be hard for me and many others. I just want to be capable of noticing the good, too. In this moment, I revel in the merry and agree that it is a wonderful life.
Reflections on lessons learned from being a therapist and adoptive dad.