Monday, December 24, 2018

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun

(sorry it's a little cattywampus) 
I have started a Christmas post over and over, and it keeps ringing false.

Not because I'm not of good cheer. I'm of good cheer!

But this is what I think I want to say.

Last year underlined for me what a gift one's time is.

I've felt the time squeeze since I had children, but I hadn't thought about time as a gift.

A friend asked what was something you learned about yourself in the last year? And I loved this question. It really made me think.

I turned around and asked it of others. The responses were so interesting to me.

I've kept thinking about it, and one of the things I realized was this: just because someone asks for my time doesn't mean I have to give it to them.

I can say no without guilt. Because my time is limited, and I do not have enough of it to spend with people I truly love, or doing things that bring me joy.

Nobody automatically deserves your time. I mean, unless they're paying you to do a job, or you're responsible for their health and well-being.

Your employer and your children or whoever else's well being you may be responsible for deserve your time.

Everyone else gets it as a gift.

I have come to believe this.

Sometimes, when I've been sick or when I am really, really busy, I don't have enough time for Nick.

Like leading up to the holidays, when I stayed up late to finish trimming the tree or making calendars and photo books for grandmothers.

I would get the kids fed and get them to bed, and then start working.

Genuinely, I didn't have enough hours in my day to accomplish all I wanted and needed to accomplish. Because you can get done the obligations, but that often leaves very little time for the wants.

And my husband gets out of sorts when I don't have enough time for him. Not perfunctory time--genuine quality time. It quickly becomes problematic in our relationship.

And obviously, a big part of why I married him is because I enjoy spending time with him. But when time is tight, he gets the short straw. String? Shrift?

(You know that though I love any and all language, I am exceedingly terrible at those expressions. Like kicking yourself in the foot. It's still an image I enjoy, plus I'm opposed to gun violence, although I suppose if you are going to shoot someone, fair's fair that it's your own food.)

Anyway, when time is tight, he doesn't get enough of mine. It is not that I don't love him. Of course I love him. I just don't have time to focus on him.

My boss came into my office the other day and asked if there was anything I needed. And I said, "TIME! I need more time!"

Sometimes there just aren't enough minutes for everything.

And so time is the gift I've given all of us this Christmas. I have given this to myself most of all.

I deliberately didn't invite anyone for the holidays. You know that I am an inviter, and at one point Betty told me to stop meeting people at bus stops and inviting them for Christmas dinner.

That was the year we had 40 guests, and it became a pot luck dinner, with people eating in shifts because there wasn't enough room. It was exhausting. But it was also joyful.

If someone has no place to go, my inclination is to invite. I don't want anyone to feel alone.

This year I bit my tongue. In multiple instances.

Because what we need most, what I crave most, is time together, with no guests and no obligations.

Time with people I love is my favorite gift.

Tonight we are going to get Indian take-out and have family game night. We may or may not make cookies.

Tomorrow we can stay in our pajamas all day if we want. And then in the evening we are going to the house of dear friends to exchange gifts and enjoy treats together.

I love Christmas. I love the lights and the treats and the sparkles and the joy of sharing. I love the hopefulness and surprise and delight.

So this is a Christmas post, though we say happy holidays in our card, because I like to say it that way. We have no war on Christmas, and I am a Christmas lover. (We do have a war on mice, because apparently if you have one mouse, you have more, and that makes mice, and that is something we really do not want to have. But this is a whole nother story.)

But I feel no need to Merry Christmas anyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas. I feel no need for any coffee company to have Santa cups or whatever.

If you celebrate Christmas, then Merry Christmas! If you're celebrating holidays of whatever type, or not celebrating but enjoying some days off, happy holidays!

Whatever you're doing, I hope you're having a delightful time.

I wish sparkly joy and love to all of you.

Dig and be dug in return.



1 comment:

  1. Such a beautifully written post. I can see how much time and labor this took because saying things as simply, as you have here, is very very difficult. I'm glad you had a jolly time. Thank you for your wishes. May your whole year ahead be full of the right ratio of calm and adventure. Much love to Jordan and India. India looks SO grownup, I remember reading your first post after she was born. Time truly squeezes after one has kids. I remember holding my daughter in my arms for the first time like yesterday and she is already 5. But the time before one had kids seems to be like another birth altogether. I feel as if it wasn't really me in college or while dating. Obviously it was me but that feels like SO LONG BACK.


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