I see you at the school bus stop, and, frankly, you look frazzled. Like you’ve got too many things on your mind, too many things to do, too much on your plate before the kids are home for the holiday break. Too many places to be at once, too many recitals, too many parties and too many get-togethers.
Too much shopping to finish. Too much decorating to do. Too much to juggle this holiday season.
And I know you don’t want to complain. You don’t want to seem like a scrooge. So you smile and tell me you’re “ready” for the holidays, when really, you’ve got a load of wet snowpants making a racket in the dryer, and you can’t find the vanilla for the cookies you’d planned to make tonight. You know, after you finish hunting down photos and cotton balls (a.k.a “snow”) for the “surprise” holiday craft the kids are making for you at school.
You thought you’d surprise them back by decorating the pine tree out front, only to discover that the 1,000 lights you ran out to buy during the kids’ basketball practice pretty much covers 1/8 of the stinkin’ tree. So you stand outside in the freezing rain, staring at the neighbor’s elaborate selection of decorations, and wonder why you’d even bothered at all.
You try to remind yourself that the kids won’t be kids that much longer. You remember that they’ll leave you soon enough, and then you’ll have to share the holidays with their in-laws. And you’ll miss them. You truly will. And you’ll miss what the holidays were like when they lived at home. But your previously wet hat is frozen solid now, and you have to go pick the kids up at basketball.
Yet, as you’re leaving your driveway, you see something that lifts your spirit…
And for a moment, you realize how pretty this time of year can be, and now grateful you are to have family and friends to celebrate the holidays with again this year. As you pull out the camera you keep in your purse, just in case, and snap this photo, you think about what a pretty holiday card it would be.
Then you remember that you forgot to order holiday cards and you’re out of stamps anyhow. Plus, you’re late for basketball pick-up, and you’ve got no time to stop for vanilla. And then I see you at the school bus stop, and you smile and wish me a happy holiday. I smile back and wish you a happy new year, before we both head to our houses to get scratch something off our to-do lists.