The days leading up to Christmas and the days after can be a funky time for some people. Some anticipate the holidays like children: giddy. You’ve seen these people. They look strangely like me.
But other people dread the holidays. Some resent the drain of their bank accounts for those obligatory purchases for people they may or may not even like or get along with. I can’t relate. I just don’t think that’s what Christmas is about, and that’s not even remotely close to what my focus is. And if I don’t like you, I’m probably not getting you anything. Please know that if you didn’t get a present from me this year, that certainly doesn’t MEAN that I don’t like you. I like most everybody, and I wish I could get presents for everyone I know. And like.
Sometimes people have a hard time coping when a loved one passes on. My Grandma Polly died three days before Christmas--about five or six years ago. It’s tough to celebrate when you’re grieving. For those of you who knew her, you’re blessed. For those of you who didn’t know her, I wish you could have. She was a pure and precious soul, who exuded absolute and unadulterated kindness. I will always miss my grandma, but I take comfort in this: there was nothing left unsaid between us. Nothing on the table whatsoever. She knew I loved her completely, and I knew she loved me completely. I don’t say to myself, “I wish I had told her...” or “I hope she knew...” I told her everything that needed to be said--long before it was time. She knew. I knew. Our relationship was healthy as one could be. No bitterness. No angst. Just love in its purest form. And joy. This has been a great source of comfort for me. It’s taught me to keep relationships healthy and free--insomuch as it is within my power. Insomuch as those relationships allow me to remain authentic to my core. A very important distinction there. Those with whom I’ve severed ties or established strict boundaries do not understand that distinction and might consider me unhealthy. Unforgiving. Heartless. “Playing into Satan’s hands” even. Hmmm. Material for another blog post. I digress.
Sometimes people experience a dread AFTER the holidays. So much hustle and bustle keeps their minds on being jolly, but after Santa comes and goes, it’s time to pay off that VISA! People return to jobs they either love, tolerate, or hate, and it’s still a long way till spring and warm weather. Even I have to admit: after the holidays, really, what IS the purpose of cold weather? I wanna dress hoochie, after all. December 26th, or maybe we can even stretch it out until January 2nd, brings a great, big, fat LET-DOWN!
Even for those who believe that the little baby Jesus came for us on Christmas day (except I heard once that He was really born in like--APRIL!) there can be a big emotional nose-dive after the 25th. I have to be honest, folks. This I just don’t get. Maybe it’s because that holy little kid shows up for ME every freakin’ day of my life. Who knows? Maybe I’m just happy and easy to please.
I woke up this morning ripped, roarin’, and ready to go! I wanted to get TO my 2008! I’m just excited about what the next year will bring! This could be the year I get published! This could be the year that I see huge financial success in my business endeavors! Maybe this will be the year that I FINALLY get knocked up! OK, probably not. (My husband just passed out cold. He’s laid out on the floor.)
It IS the year of my 10th wedding anniversary to the most wonderful man on the planet. It IS the year that my Geoffrey begins his senior year of high school. You KNOW we’re going to make this the best year EVER for him! It IS the first year in about four years that I WILL spend the summer with my Sean-Martin. Maybe we’ll stay home this summer. Maybe we’ll spend the summer at a resort or a dude ranch somewhere.
2008 is the year of freedom. And if you don’t know by now that FREEDOM is a BIG THEME with me, you’ve been under a rock somewhere.
Somehow, I want to give my readers this sense of hope and anticipation for the new year. I don’t want anyone I love to be let down from this or any holiday. So, in true “teacher” form, I’m giving all of you an assignment. Sean-Martin and I did this for the first time last year, and it has made all the difference in our focus for last year. It was such an amazing experience that we will be doing this again THIS year and EVERY year from here on out. I guarantee, it will squash the after-the-holiday-blues and give you and your family a sense of purpose for each and every new year. We have a “retreat” of sorts with each new year. We review our finances, our accomplishments thus far, our goals (long-term and short-term), our really-truly-uninhibited-whacked-out dreams, things we need to get done this year, along with A LIST OF WHAT WE ARE WILLING TO DO TO MAKE ALL THESE THINGS HAPPEN (VERY IMPORTANT!), and we also include a family prayer and our family mission statement. We spend a whole day or two just being together, ordering out food, with our noses to the grindstone, reviewing what we think really rocks about our family and what we believe needs attention. Last year we came up with this mission statement: “Because there is no lack in the universe, our home is abundant! It is a vessel through which blessings are generously poured in and generously poured out. We are all entitled to sanctuary, and we know that WE are the ones who provide it for each other. May all who come into our home feel a powerful presence of love and acceptance. We will live within our means, plan for our future, spend quality time together, remain supportive of each other, enforce a “no-losers” policy, exercise flexibility and be willing to adapt to situations as they occur, live simply and simply live, and if someone isn’t happy--THEN GET HAPPY!” This mission statement is posted on our refrigerator for the world to see, but more importantly, for US to see.
I think the chicks will think this is way cool, but the dudes--maybe not so much. Ladies, just don’t feed ‘em till they cooperate. They’ll sign on and be darn glad they did! And if one person just CAN’T get the other one to participate, JUST DO IT YOURSELF! Remember, you can’t change people--you can only change THINGS! And you CAN change the things in your own life. Write every bit of your plans down. Get a folder and keep a record of your plans. We keep our “2007 Strategy Session for Family and Business Plans” right on our coffee table so we can refer to it any day of the year. If our company wants to read through it, we LET THEM! No secrets in THIS house! We are about to replace it with our “2008 Strategy Session for Family and Business Plans”.
I challenge you, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE DOWN IN THE DUMPS, to sit down with your family or even yourself and plan out your 2008! Give yourself something to look forward to! Decide what you want. Decide what you are willing to do to make it happen. Then get to it! If you don’t hit your marks, be good and gracious to yourselves! Last year we committed to drinking less, and by God, we drink MORE! We’ll just address that again this year. Life is a journey, after all, isn’t it? The prize doesn’t necessarily come at the end, folks. The prize is the journey itself. So, don’t make it suck.
Hope is the best of things. It sustains us. However, I have found those who are repulsed by hope. It is foreign in their hands. If that’s you, acknowledge that and figure out what you want to do about it. Figure out what you’re willing to do about it. I hope that hope plants itself deeply in your hearts and brings new energy to your lives.
And, by the way, we DID name our new puppy. Her name is Sofia Noel Siler Martin. She’s adorable, even though she pooped underneath our Christmas tree. Check out the picture. (Of the dog--not the poop.)
With all my love and hope,