Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Post-Game, Vol. 2

It all started one night when I was tucking Maelynn into bed.

She and Richie want snow so bad they can't stand it.  We live in central Texas, and while there's a time or so here and there when we have had snow, it doesn't happen often.  I encouraged her to pray about it, honestly not out of heart of wanting her to take her requests and concerns to The Father, but out of wanting to finish what I was doing without her asking another three-year-old question.  On some level I meant well, and I wasn't rude in telling her.  But I was tired of the question.

I had things to DO.  I had to get things decorated, make plans to make sure I had enough goodies for friends and teachers, and make sure we had the kids' gifts just right.  Did I have every ingredient for this and that organized on my lists... the now, and the right before Christmas shopping list?  Did we get the right ____ for ____?  Had that last package arrived?

She mentioned it at prayer time at night a few times, we prayed for it.  That if it would be okay with God we'd love some snow.  I really thought I was doing my mommy duty, patting myself on the back for her remembering because I prompted her to ask earlier, forgetting the setting.  Then it was back to work.

The adult side of Christmas was overtaking the kid side of life.  I never intended for that to happen.

When I was a child, it was a whole different story.  There was no Mom and Dad... it was Mom and I, and Daddy and J.  With Mother, on her days off, we decorated our apartment, shopped and wrapped presents for family, and built a pretty amazing little world for ourselves as far as Christmas wonder went.  We waited for the night "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "Mickey's Christmas Carol" would come on TV, hoping it was a night she was off.  We went to see Santa, we drove around and looked at Christmas lights, and it was wonderful.  

But soon that wonderful was replaced with the trauma of leaving all that was comfortable, all that was familiar and easy to go into an unstable environment hours away every blasted Christmas.  There was even the one Christmas when I got to wake up in our apartment Christmas morning, opened presents, and then the phone rang.  He decided he wanted me to come after all, I guess.

All that left me with a rather unhealthy desperation to get Christmas-happy-joyful as right as I could with my kids.

And I've never found the correct formula.

I tried cookies plus candy plus unhealthy amounts of food for all.... and that equaled my jeans being tighter.

I tried all theology and solid, unfiltered truth minus wonder and all the fluffy stuff of commercial, cultural American Christmas... and that equaled missing the stuff I liked of Christmas as a kid.

I tried making everything for everyone and less shopping and that equaled one stressed, crying mama the night before we left to travel to see family.

I tried going over dosing on travel, making it about seeing and being with family.

Of all the things I've tried, all the trying usually gets is disappointment.  Yes, it'll look great on paper.  And no, there's nothing wrong with planning and trying.  But so much of it was just empty.  How could this... Mom and Dad, our house, brothers and a sister, the dog, all this greatness... how could his be less magical than an apartment and my hard-working single mom?

Then, on another night, at another bedtime at the end of another day of running around, My daughter's precious voice came from her pink and purple comforter, and from under all those stuffed animals, said with sad eyes, "Mama, we don't need to pray tonight."

"What?  Of course we do.  Let's get to it."

"No, Mama.  We prayed for snow and God didn't give it to us.  He's way too busy for us."

Ouch.  Her sincere pout and fallen countenance spoke volumes about what had been missing.

After I my heart started, I gently explained the best way I could break down God's sovereignty for a three year old.  My heart ached because I couldn't give her what she really wanted, and then I realized that what she really needed wasn't snow.

As I shut her bedroom door, I began to think about what this Christmas would be.  What it should be.  And the more I thought, the less it would fit into a day.  And the less it mattered how perfect the cookies were or how many visits we made.  And the more I thought about what I loved as a kid.

It had very little to do with December 25.  Or Santa.  Or presents.  Or snow.  And part of it came in giving my kids what I didn't have... but not what I was thinking, and not on Christmas day.  The confusing part came in that it wasn't in just doing Christmas things, but in how we do them.  How deeply Christmas reaches our souls.  In all my Christmas checklisting, I was leaving something out.  There was a connection missing.

That day, as I realized that I was missing my daughter's wonder and childlike amazement, I started to get it.  I talked about it, thought about it, even wrote about it, but still didn't get it.

Then there was the trip to ER (that I thought would be urgent care... blast bad advertising) when I should have been in bed, the day before I had a big day of baking and prep and plans.

Thanks be to God, I eventually got it.  But it's too much to cram into this post.  See you tomorrow.

To Be Continued... 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...