Monday, November 30, 2009
On the Cusp
Gratitude. I think I could blog about it everyday, and find myself looking at the world, eyes renewed and spirit strengthened. (With a better immune system, to boot. I read in a local paper that according to research by Psychology professor, Robert Emmons, gratitude tends to improve your immune system because optimism boosts your immune system and gratitude breeds optimism. Just one more thing to be grateful for, not too shabby). I have a feeling that I will be revisiting the subject of gratitude frequently in the next month. I also feel that we are on the cusp of so many things as we move into this next month, this little family of mine.
Today was a one of those days spent rushing: multiple doctors appointments, a few errands, more time in the car than we would like - all reminders that we are moving forward (always more quickly than I seem able to take in) and that this new December season is about to unfold. Several times gratitude found me in the small or touchable - sending off finished projects in fabrics that made me smile; a nurse's laugh that reminded me of a dear friend; and pride at the complicated directions Audrey is now able to carry out by herself coupled with the thankfulness that her hands still feel so small in mine.
We weren't the only ones rushing today. Jason joined me at the doctor's office to find it a mess of double-bookings, late-running appointments, and missing staff members (off delivering babies). We were there for an ultrasound to find out if our little guy was breach, as he seemed to be last week (after 95% of all babies have already turned, according to my doctor). Our ultrasound tech was rushing more than any of the others - fast hands, fast pictures, fast words. In the midst of all of this rushing was our little guy, who it seems is content to run on his own clock against all "normal" schedules and waited to turn head down until this week when he was good and ready. And again, I found gratitude, for his reminder that sometimes (even as everyone tries to rush you) it is best to take your time.
What better time for this reminder than now, as we sit on The Cusp. New Month. New Baby. New Holiday. So as I find myself shuffling multiple to-do lists, lists that I have no hope of completing unless I grow another head and multiple sets of arms, I'm remembering to move at my own pace. And as I fail to cross the items off, to be grateful that I'm choosing to move at my own pace and copy the example of my son.
For those of you who (like me) get a little overwhelmed during the Christmas season at the thought of the lines, the gift-choosing and hunting, and the rushing, here are a couple ideas that I love, and that seem perfectly in sinc with the philosophy of taking your time (and possibly saving you some money):
A lady didn't have the money to send gifts to all of her family members for their individual birthdays one year, which began this tradition: once a year (at a random time each year to surprise them) she sends a party box to her sister's family with everything they need to have a family celebration. The picture above is a similar take on this idea. I can never seem to get my act together to get gifts sent to the children of some dear friends for their birthdays. So last year, I decided that it was better late than never and mailed off a box for Thanksgiving with a note of how thankful we were for each of them and their family. The gift contained felt crowns like the one I made Audrey for her birthday for the kids to wear to play or to celebrate their special days. This year's box is filled with aprons and a cookbook so they can get in the kitchen with their parents to help create all the goodies that make holidays throughout the year that much more delicious.
I ran across this idea this week in the paper. A lady felt that all the "stuff" her niece and nephew have only added to their stress (due to lack of space to store it all) instead of bringing them joy. Rather than add to the stress by giving them more stuff, she has decided to give them her time. For their birthdays, each child is given the number of activities that corresponds with their age to do with her. Most of these activities are simple: baking cookies, having a slumber party at her house, etc. But what a wonderful thing to teach her niece and nephew, that they are so valuable, they are worthy of her giving her most important asset: her time.
I know I'm not alone in the to-do list shuffle, the carpool hustle, or the Christmas bustle. And while I know that all some of you want for Christmas is a second head and multiple sets of arms, I'm going to wish you something else - a mindset that allows you to slow down, scrap the list, and take your time. So here's to hanging out on the cusp for just a little while, before we take December's plunge.