Is anyone else feeling it? That pre-Christmas exhaustion? Why do we do it to ourselves? By 8 O’Clock last night I had hit the wall. I tucked my little girl into bed, gave the cricket watching junkies a kiss goodnight, crawled into bed and was out like a light. I’m sure I snored.
I wrapped up another year of Shauna’s Family Day Care yesterday. It is always an emotional time saying goodbye to the children and families who are moving on. These families have been a huge part of my daily life and that of my family, for the last few years. And the emotion always catches me off-guard because I, like everyone else, get so wrapped up in all of the mayhem that is Christmas – work parties, school parties, preschool parties, sporting club parties, shopping for gifts and food for said parties, wrapping and giving of gifts. Multiply that by the number of family members and combine it with all of the usual work/life/family commitments and it makes for a hectic couple of weeks. And it’s still not even Christmas!
So I was cruising along, just trying to get through it, one day at a time. Just like everyone else. The school and preschool year was drawing to a close for Lindsay and Heather. They’d both left the house with their teacher’s end of year gifts in hand. Check. And Check! I had a big day planned with my daycare children because in amongst everything else my car is due to be registered on Christmas Day! I know. So I had an outing to the tyre shop planned because I needed two new ones! Then one of my little friends arrived with a basket-full of goodies for me that totally took me by surprise. In amongst it was a trinket box and painted on the lid, was this….
It was one of those moments that helps to put things in perspective. One of those moments that screams “slow down, take stock because in the life of a child someone considers you to be pretty special”.
It made me weep! Yes I was tired and emotional! But it makes me tearful now writing about it. The first five years is when so much of a child’s primary biological wiring takes place – the capacity to pick up language, culture, social norms, emotional capacity and self-regulation, creative thinking, self-preservation and a healthy sense of self. It is just the greatest privilege to be chosen to care for someone else’s child during these formative years. I can think of no greater honour. I know that is a big statement. And obviously, caring for my own children is pretty big. But to be trusted with someone else’s preschool-aged child? That is huge! And to have it acknowledged in this way, is very humbling indeed.
So it has been an emotional week, and I know most people are feeling it. We run ourselves ragged for the one day of the year that is over in the blink of an eye! And everything just has to be done before Christmas! At any cost. So some people seem to think! People lose sight of what it is all meant to be about. We all have our own interpretation of the meaning of Christmas, but I am pretty sure that most would agree that the things that matter most at Christmas are the things that money cannot buy.
So today I am taking stock to help clear my head and recharge before the final downhill slide to Christmas in just six days time. Maybe you’d like to do it too? I am using this great checklist from Pip who writes a blog called Meet Me at Mikes. So here goes.
Making : the most of the first day of my holidays
Cooking : Nigella Lawson’s Meatzza for dinner tonight
Drinking : Lavazza Amodo Mio Tierra Intenso! Aka: coffee
Reading: Lots of blogs for blogging inspiration – Have a laugh on me, Baby-mac, Woogs World, Styling You and more
Wanting: to improve my blog next year and grow my readership
Looking: at my kids laughing as they sit opposite me working on a sticker book together
Playing: with my hair, as always
Wasting: not much….hoarding would be a more appropriate criterion for me!
Sewing: nothing but it is one of my favourite things to do and I miss it….New Year’s Resolution?
Wishing: my husband could be home with us today
Enjoying: writing on the blog for the first time in a while
Waiting: on a gift I ordered online 3 weeks ago to arrive in the post
Liking: having nowhere to be
Wondering: what can I do to teach my kids about the true meaning of Christmas?
Loving: that my kids are at an age where Christmas is magical
Hoping: for world peace always, but especially at Christmas
Marvelling: at how my kids will (eventually) launch into the most creative imaginative games when screen-time is off-limits (not before they’ve complained of boredom for a solid 1/2 hour, but it’s worth it)
Needing: to shop for groceries, again
Smelling: the neighbour’s freshly cut grass, and two-stroke
Wearing: crushed black and white striped t-shirt and crushed tan shorts
Following: lots of blogs
Noticing: my elderly neighbour enjoying the fresh air and sunshine on her front porch
Knowing: that I am lucky to have my health and happiness when so many I know have been struck down by illness, injury, loneliness and grief at this time
Thinking: this is a long list
Bookmarking: recipes, cool things to do with my daycare kids, parenting stuff, blogging tips
Opening: gifts from my gorgeous daycare families
Giggling: at my children “Mum I just did a poo that’s curvy like a rainbow!”
Feeling: Inspired to keep calm, positive and enjoy Christmas.
So here is a blank list for you to cut and paste into comments below or anywhere you fancy. Try it! It makes you stop to think and is very cathartic. Ready? Set? Go!