Hiding Behind the Christmas Tree

Josh, Mom, Dad, Nathan, Casey.
I don’t want this month to end. After working so hard to “win” NaNoWriMo, I really needed some time “off.” I have always been a lover of all things Christmas so the timing was perfect, especially considering all the changes that are taking place in my family. My eldest son is moving from Atlanta to Los Angeles in January; my middle child is transferring to Georgia State University and leaving home for the first time. Also, my parents had decided to make the trip from southern Illinois to spend Christmas with all of us here in Atlanta. Realizing it might be a long time before I might have the opportunity to have the people I love best under my roof all at the same time, I elected to make the most of it.
I bought a fresh cut tree and trimmed it with all my favorite ornaments. I set the pictures from my boys’ first Christmases on the mantle and hung the mistletoe from the ceiling. I shopped online and ordered handcrafted baubles from Etsy. I beaded and knitted and sewed. I wrote a Christmas letter, printed the photo of my kids at my birthday, and tucked them into cards. I wrapped gifts, baked dozens of cookies, and mailed packages. I taught my piano students holiday music and went to Celtic Christmas and Nutcracker. And I didn’t miss a single party. 
Yes, there were moments I was tempted to slip into the “woe is me” mode. “There is so much to do I will never get it all done. I am so tired. This is so much work.” Whenever I felt myself falling into that trap, I shook myself metaphorically and changed the self-talk. “Nobody is making you do anything, Pam. Do what you enjoy and let the rest go. Get some rest. Then get up again and play.” 
That’s why half my Christmas ornaments and household decorations are still in the boxes, two of my handmade gifts didn’t get finished, and the Chex Party Mix is still unmade. It’s also part of the reason why this was truly my best December ever.
My parents arrived safely at my brother’s house the evening of the 22nd. We had Italian food at my house on the 23rd, opened presents at my brother’s house on Christmas Eve, and shared Christmas dinner back at my house on the afternoon of the 25th. We ate and drank and talked and laughed and took hundreds of pictures. It all went by too fast. But I am left with wonderful memories and lessons learned. 
Now it is New Year’s Eve, a time to reflect upon the previous year and make plans for the months ahead. More about that tomorrow. Because there’s going to be a shindig at my house tonight. I think I’ll whip up a couple of batches of that Chex Party Mix, after all.
Happy New Year!