Are you listening to the sounds of December? The clinking of spoons in hot chocolate mugs, the rustle of cats in the Christmas tree, the tinking of bells on shop doors, familiar carols, and audible shivers as friends tighten their scarves…
Are you smelling the smells of December? Baking cookies, pine needles, cold winter air laced with the smoke of chimneys, dusty ornaments and boxes from musty attics…
Are you seeing the sights of December? Extra messes as the pace of life picks up, a hand-made nativity on the lawn that blows over every now and then with a persistent gust of wind, hot chocolate rings and crumbs on school homework, Christmas-tree-Bokeh, bare branches with the last few headstrong autumn leaves that wouldn’t let go…
We’re in that lull before Christmas… the dreamy spot where our minds and hearts aren’t quite caught up with our zooming bodies that seem to be transporting through space and time at the speed of light. December is a blur that you either want to rush through or slow down… and this year, I just wish I could slow it down and treasure it.
There are “lasts” for me to savor this year…
>> The last Christmas when he was under 18… so close to 24.
>> The last Christmas when she wasn’t sweet 16 yet… so close to 24.
>> The last Christmas before first grade for my 5 year old… so close to 15.
>> The last Christmas when he was still a toddler… so close to 10.
I’m holding tight and straining time through my mind like sand in an hour glass. Counting the moments as grains, soon to be swept away like the holiday decorations will be in January.
We got word this past week that a local homeschool choir teacher who taught my children for a few years was murdered the week before her final Christmas performance for 2014. Over 400 students are going on with the show without her, broken-hearted. I listened to her sing carols on holiday music shuffle with my iPhone the night before I got the email, text, and Facebook messages about it. Saying prayers for Mrs. Kathy’s family and friends. It’s harder to say goodbyes over the holidays… and this bit of news was somber indeed. It got me thinking about the huge hole she’s leaving behind… and all the lives she touched.
We’re still doing school, but I’m being a lot more lax about deadlines (and their other ‘teachers’ are, too – thanks Cindy). We’re taking field trips. We’ve decorated the house. We’re slowly making our way through boxes, nooks, crannies and closets to purge what isn’t important; as this seems to be an inadvertent tradition of ours.
Last weekend my kids shot off rockets for their Physics club and gave a report on Norway at the local co-op culture fair. This week they went to visit the Governor’s Mansion, Visitor’s Center and Texas Capitol, and for the first time in all our trips to the Capitol, we thought to get a private tour guide for our group. Win! Tomorrow we will hopefully finish our English III Essays and move on to week 5 of our slow trek through Beth Moore’s “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things”. Thursday they will go to Bible class, and Friday we celebrate my husband’s birthday.
I’m overlooking the library fees, the advent readings we are desperately behind on, the endless laundry pile, the unfinished projects, the tardy school assignments, the Christmas cards that are precariously close to missing their mark. I’m putting on my rose-tinted 3-D glasses to hone in on the rest of this holiday season. I’m leaving the tacky red chili pepper lights up on the living room window per my 3 year old’s supplication. I’m allowing them to have a little bread (which is a rare treat in our paleo-ish lifestyle) and even eat pie for dinner every now and then (even though we avoid sugar most of the time).
I’m storing up Christmas treasure for a mama’s heart.
“There’s no way you can do it all, true; but everyone gets enough time each day to do the important things.” ~ Me, back in January of 2014 during a moment of epiphany.
Even good things are worth giving up for treasure. Because ‘lasts’ are inevitable.