When the busy-ness of the holidays come, a lot of us just fall into an automatic mode of what all we need to do and just work like busy little bees doing those things so much so that we miss the magic that goes with the holidays. Sometimes, it's important to take a breath and look at things through someone else's eyes to get a new perspective.
Eyes as a Child - Think back to when you were a child. Close your eyes and remember how it felt when you would stare at the pretty Christmas tree. This was way before you felt the stress of putting the tree up and decorating the house. It was all so special. You felt like almost anything could happen. When I look back, my fondest memories were usually of little things that, to me, were just really special. I remember getting this pencil sharpener that looked like a doggy, when I was little, and I just loved it. The main reason was because it was left in my bedroom under a tiny table top tree and it was just really special to get something under that tree too! I was surprised! I was probably in kindergarten or first grade and it didn't matter that it was just a pencil sharpener. It was that I felt special. Like Santa remembered I had a tree in my room! It was the first year I decorated something on my own and I was really proud. We need to remember those things that made us feel special so that we can make others feel special during the season. It wasn't what the gift was, it was just being remembered. Sometimes we need that perspective while we are giving--so that we are truly giving from the heart.
Eyes as a Young Parent - When I was a young parent, we didn't have much money and I always worried that my kids would be disappointed. The truth is, sometimes they were and it broke my heart. I would try so hard to make things as nice as my mother did, but I always felt I failed--miserably. When others would invite us to a party, I wasn't a very good cook then, and I didn't have any special recipes to offer yet. I felt out of place and like I wouldn't ever measure up. But you know what? That isn't how my kids saw things. Of course, I didn't know that isn't how they saw things until years later! When older adults would look at my small terrors, I mean my children, they would tell me how it was the "best time" of my life and I better enjoy it. I now know they meant well, but at the time it was really hard! Was I doing things right? How come it didn't feel like the "best time in my life"? I was so tired...and usually I or one of the kids (or all) would end up sick... If you have been there, looking back and remembering can maybe give you the compassion to help someone else out who is there. Give them a big tin of all kinds of goodies, so they and their family can enjoy them since they don't have time, money or know how to make them sometimes. I received a recipe one year that is NOW a family favorite, from an older friend along with a basket of all kinds of goodies. It literally changed the course of my life in some ways. If you are in this place right now...hang in there. When us older ladies tell you that it is the best time, what we mean is your kids will see it that way, so you don't need to worry. Hang in there! You ARE doing a great job!
Eyes as an Elder - The holidays can look very different through an older person's eyes. First, if you have grandchildren, all you see during the holidays is how much fun they are having and how everything is an adventure to them! You don't really pay attention to them throwing a fit because they didn't get the same gift their cousin did--or if you DO see it, it's funny to you and part of the magic of Christmas. You see your children young again in their eyes and it just fills you up with all sorts of joy! But, when you are older, the holidays can bring down times as well. Since we have lived a bit, usually we have memories of those we have lost--and maybe even during the holiday season. We may feel a lot more alone when the celebrating is over, because our homes are so much quieter than they used to be when our kids were growing up, and it seems to really stick out to you when the family leaves after the holidays. If you haven't reached this stage yet in your life, try to put yourself in Grandma's shoes and make an extra effort to let her know how much you love her. She was once in all the same shoes you have been in...so she knows a lot of what you are feeling, but, may not be able to share how much she understands. But its there.
What I am trying to say here in all my ramblings is this: truly look at those around you. Remember how you have felt in the past and think about how you want to feel in your future and do what you can to show compassion and love to others this holiday season. Sometimes it's the littlest things that make the biggest differences in someone's life. You may never know when you actually change a course of someone's life, but, if you are putting an effort in to try to make that difference, then you need to just rest in knowing you have done your part.
My prayer is that all of you feel loved, special and full of joy this holiday season.
Until Next Week!
Jen Lush--Associate Broker and Managing Broker's Mother