If we have learned nothing else during this year, I hope we have learned to appreciate the moments as they come. That means whenever and however they come to us, and not necessarily how we thought they would arrive. I have been thinking a lot about this over the last week, because, as with most holidays, things didn’t always go as planned.
We drove to see our oldest daughter and her fiancé for Thanksgiving because they couldn’t take time off work. In addition to having to work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Alex was on call for the entire Thanksgiving weekend. So, we knew going into it that our days would be limited and the holiday weekend could be choppy at best. Yes, we knew all of this and believed that whatever time we had was better than nothing. After all, we had it better than most. My parents, siblings and extended family were all doing Thanksgiving alone. I have a friend with a family of 5 and they spent Thanksgiving in 4 different homes. Covid has wreaked havoc on holidays and family gatherings this year in a big way.
Even though I knew all of this, I still had moments where I felt myself feeling sad and longing for the days where everyone was home and nobody had to work. I didn’t allow myself to stay in this place, though, because I didn’t want to ruin the good moments with ridiculous expectations that were never going to be met anyway. I stopped myself by being real and being grateful for the moments that we did have. When we get stuck, it’s hard to find the good moments, but I promise you if you stop and make a mental list of the things you are grateful for, you will be stunned at how long your list actually is.
So, each morning before I got out of bed, I made a mental gratitude list from the previous day and prayed for peace, joy in the moments, and deep breaths whenever needed. Did it make everything perfect? No. It did help though and it did make me appreciate everything as it was happening. I felt more present; like I had taken a deep breath and just sunk into all of the good stuff.
I also had the wherewithal to take some deep breaths when others weren’t being present. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how zen you get, not everyone is going to be on the same page at the same time and you just have to breathe until your annoyance passes.
We spent 6 full days there. They were both working a fair amount of that time and Alex got called into surgery a lot, but we are so grateful for home cooked meals, wedding dress shopping, getting a sneak peek of the wedding venue, helping them put up their first Christmas tree, watching movies, wrapping gifts, running a 5k around the lake on Thanksgiving morning, getting to spend all of Thanksgiving together cooking, baking, smoking a turkey, and playing games and safe travels to and from Arkansas.
You know what else? We are so dang proud of them. It’s hard to be sad when you see them walk out the door in their scrubs. They are out there working in the ER and OR everyday making a real difference in people’s lives and we are so grateful for how hard they work.
Being for each and every moment matters. It’s always mattered, but this year it matters even more. We have 5 weeks left in this holiday season, make it count. Write down all of the things you are grateful for each night and each morning say a little prayer or meditate on finding peace, joy in the moments and deep breaths.
And also, make sure you always have some confetti in your pocket. A dear friend sent this to me last week and I think it’s a perfect way to be ready for all of the moments coming your way.
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G