My sweet, Bella is going through a separation anxiety stage. She always smiles when she sees me, and is agreeable to "go outside" with me, but she keeps pretty close tabs on her mom is all times. By dinner time, I'm usually only good for "potty time."
Last night Mom and Dad were at a meeting so I, aka MeMe, was in charge of dinner. Let me just say that feeding the Russian army might be easier than feeding this child. "No, No," said the petite child who suddenly developed Herculean strength and almost tossed herself out of the high chair. The adage of the horse and water works for 2 year olds and milk as well. She was having none of it. Poor thing was in total melt down mode when her mom came home to change for a party.
No dummy, Bella, knew if she clung to her mommy, mommy couldn't go anywhere without her. Tension and anxiety were in the air. In an effort to distract her, we all walked to the garbage drop down the hall. When we noticed (today's SSJE word) this wreath on a neighbor's door, her mood changed. "Christmas!" she squealed.
We all stared at the the beautiful sight. It wasn't a star, and there were no angels singing, but for those few seconds Christmas magic calmed the heart of a little girl. The word "Joy" was not lost on me.
I know too well how anxiety and stress can make a person cranky and clingy. My excuse is not a developmental stage. It's more the result of trying to do too much, especially at this time of year. With 61 Christmases under my belt, you'd think I would have learned by now that there's no such thing a "perfect." All I can do is all I can do. I've learned that the best holiday moments are just that - moments.
Unexpected moments of wonder and surprise. I've also learned that it helps to have the eyes and wishful thinking of a child during the month of December. I'm sure a Christmas tree looks taller and prettier from the floor, instead of a step ladder trying to place the lights and ornaments just so. Hurried trips to the mall are more exciting when animated Christmas scenes capture your attention. Three feet of snow can either be a pain to shovel or a clean canvas for making snow angels. A trip to the garbage dumpster can be made special by a glittery purple wreath.
Being an adult at Christmas is hard work. Why do I always forget holiday magic resides in the pure delight of a child? My sister sent me a daily devotional from Joel Osteen today. He quoted an article that said, " the average child laughs over 200 times a day, but the average adult only laughs 4 times a day. What’s happened? We’ve allowed the pressures of life, stress and more responsibilities, little by little, to steal our joy.
To quote Oprah, one thing what I know for sure is when I'm with Bella, I laugh more. I see merriment in simple joys like squirrels playing "ring a rosie" around the trunk of a tree.
If you haven't laughed out loud in a while, I suggest you spend some time with small children.. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
*Joel Osteen Ministries