Expectations… let them go…
When last Christmas was here I never thought about this year …my expectations were that I would be with all my family this year…the same as every other year…boy can life change a ton in a year!
I knew along with the stress that comes with the Holidays I would be dealing with two other very sad things this Christmas… MLD of course, and the unfortunate loss of my dad on Feb 10th of this year. It’s funny how when you lose someone who is close to you it takes what seems like a year to grieve all the firsts without that person. Well, when MLD came into our lives the grieving seemed to switch from my dad to my kids. Trust me it’s not what I wanted but it is what happened…until Christmas that is. This was the last time I saw my Dad healthy, the last time he was ever with my kids and the last time my life was “normal” before the start of the worst year of my life. Christmas was not something I was looking forward to!
Am I allowed to say that I feel relief that Christmas is over? Well, I am saying it and it I could not be any happier…although typing this it sounds so mean to think that way but it has nothing to do with God or people or my kids it purely is about the expectations that I put on myself that are so unrealistic during the Holiday Season…maybe now I can go back to the only slightly elevated expectations that I put on myself.
I have always had a plan for certain things in my life… but especially during the Holidays. It starts with Black Friday shopping… next come the decorations (inside & out) Yes I am a bit of a freak… I LOVE my blow ups, candy canes, lights, signs…etc… It definitely is not for everyone but it is for me. Maybe because this is the first “house” I ever lived in and it is mine to do with what I want. Maybe because deep down I feel like I am still a young child and I enjoy the things that little kids enjoy. One thing I know is I will never truly grow up in some ways, and that makes me happy.
The Christmas card… who doesn’t want their card to be perfect? I know I do. The presents… I have to be done shopping with enough time to bake and if you know me you know I love to bake! I need weeks to bake! The advent calendar, the stocking, the Christmas picture with Santa! UGH!! I have to stop here… I swore that until Eric went to college I would be at the King of Prussia Mall getting their picture done. Yes, I was a bit obsessed.
I can break here and say that none of this went according to plan this year… It was definitely not on target to be one of my better Christmas for many reasons. I did not do my blow ups (until WOW brought us a train) I was not going to do the outside house lights (until Verruni Landscaping came and decorated the whole outside of my house) I got my tree about a week before Christmas, the card got done and mailed out the day before Christmas Eve, presents were bought on Christmas Eve…we wrapped till almost 3 am Christmas morning… YUP… nothing seemed to be going as I had hoped and this year the expectations were that much higher. The thing that brought me great frustration was the fact that I did not get to the mall to see Santa. I am actually still having ill feelings about missing that moment as I will never get it back. Yes, no one knows what next year will bring but most of us don’t ever go there because we assume that life will be as normal as it is today. Anyone who has ever had anxiety knows the feeling that goes through your body when you feel totally not in control of anything and this is why I have to let it go… it cannot be changed and it is doing me no good dwelling on it. Nothing ever goes as planned and I will plan as little as I can for the rest of my life.
All this being said, and if I am being completely honest with myself, I have to admit that none of those things that meant so much to me really ended up meaning what I thought. Every time I think I know what matters or when I think I have nothing new to learn from a situation, God finds ways to bring me right back to the core of what is important.
My tree does not have to be perfect, cards can arrive late, if I shop late there will still be present’s on Christmas, I can bake more after Christmas day, my house can look amazingly different for one year (and make my neighbors happy) If the elf doesn’t move one night my kids will survive…someone was bad right?? Maybe they will think it was them and be good…..LOL!!!!
This disease has changed us all in so many ways and reflecting back on the last two weeks I actually can see that I enjoyed things a bit more… despite believing I would need perfection to make the best memories this year. We went to parties, didn’t worry about when things got done as we just knew it would happen and most importantly we learned that change is ok.
Life is not a given on any day, so if the day went well and the kids are healthy, it was a great, successful day! “Be open to whatever comes my way” this is what I tell myself and it’s amazing how many things do come my way when I open myself up to it.