’tis the season

I know I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed. It’s good to know, actually. Doesn’t help get things done, but at least I have company.

My Christmas shopping has barely begun. I have no Christmas letter written, nor a picture of the boys taken for a card. I’m doing a cookie exchange next week and I haven’t decided what to make (ok, not entirely true. I know what I want to make, it’s just a matter of if I have enough time to make something with that many steps). We have outdoor decorations out, but that’s only because Tom sacrificed his Sunday to get everything out before the weather turned this week (we learned last year about outdoor lights with all the blizzards: get them up early, keep it simple, stay off the roof, and figure they might be up until April). The rest of our holiday decorations might get up this weekend. Actually, they have to get up this weekend: my mom needlepointed a beautiful Advent calendar for us and since Saturday is Day One, I need to hang it up. I’ve been fighting some sort of wimpy virus for a couple of weeks now. It’s like the stupid thing can’t decide whether or not to make me sick or not. C’mon, you wimp. Get me knock down, drag out sick so I can get well already. I don’t want to be on the edge of this cold all winter, my nose is already raw.

Yet, somehow, I talked myself off the ledge this morning. It’s so easy for me to get all worked up and stressed; I do it very well. I could have very easily hit panic mode today and been a wreck trying to get it all done. But as I drove the boys to school this morning, listening to TonicSolFa* on my iPod (God bless my iPod on carpool days…), I had several thoughts.

Colorado has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, if not the highest. I’m seeing
more and more empty houses in our neighborhood. If you see a house that is obviously empty and there is no For Sale sign out front, it’s likely a foreclosure home. It’s so sad. These are not McMansions, these are homes similar to mine. I’m so grateful and so blessed to have a roof over our heads.

My God, look at those mountains! How beautiful. I’m so grateful and blessed to live in such beauty.

I’m playing in a recital on December 16th. This isn’t a “I’m a part of a larger group” recital, I’m actually doing a solo. I rehearsed with my pianist last night (he’s actually the choir director at our church) and it went great. I was doing fine until I saw his diploma from the Eastman School of Music (um, for those of you who don’t know, yeah, this is one of the best music schools in the country…no pressure here). I am so grateful and blessed to have been able to hold my own with him, and to make music again. I’ve missed it.

He drives me batsnot, but my husband is such a good man. I am so grateful and blessed to have him by my side…and incredulous that he doesn’t run screaming into the night when I fall off the ledge into freak-out mode.

My sons…you know, when I talk to people who don’t really know about the boys’ issues, I see myself from their point of view and I am amazed at my own strength. It’s happened to me twice in the last week. Two friends, who didn’t know the details of the boys’ therapies, asked me about them and I told them. And I saw, from outside myself, how much extra they need and how strong I am to provide it all. It’s hard for me to acknowledge this; I usually have a pity party for one with whine/wine instead. I am so grateful and blessed that I have my sons because they are making me a stronger and more empathetic person.

And finally, I am so grateful and blessed to have all this holiday craziness because it means I have the means to participate in all this holiday craziness. When it all comes down to it, it doesn’t really matter if I get a Christmas card out, it doesn’t matter if I make the fancy schmancy Christmas cookies, it doesn’t matter if half the Christmas decorations don’t make it out of storage. All that matters is that my family is healthy and loved. The rest is just frosting.

And I am grateful and blessed to have figured that out this morning.
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*TonicSolFa is a male a cappella (no accompaniment) quartet (four singers). And they are fantastic. I have their two holiday CDs and they are the perfect soundtrack to driving carpool.

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