The holidays can be a stressful time, even under the best circumstances. At the very least, there’s a lot more to do than usual, and the usual stuff doesn’t go away. There’s shopping to do, gifts to wrap, ship and deliver, decorations to hang, cards to send, cookies to bake, menus to plan, guests to host, parties to attend and meals to prepare. And the normal cleaning, organizing and general running of a household can’t wait for the holidays to be over. And then, of course, we need to be jolly and happy and joyous while we do it.
It’s a challenge. For me, this year, I really tried to focus on enjoying the experience, and being “in the moment”, rather than on perfecting the details of myriad holiday tasks. I think I did pretty well (even considering a couple of major meltdowns), especially considering that we’re also overseas, away from most of our family.
But, it’s hard to tell. I feel pretty good about how the holiday went, but I can’t help but wonder how my kids experienced it. Did the fun and wonder of exploring the Christmas markets outweigh the cold fingers and late evenings? Did the few moments where I let the stress get to me cast a shadow over the good times? Did the adventure of having a new experience, in a faraway land, help to balance out the sadness of missing our family at home? I know better than to obsess about it, but I wonder, all the same.
Tonight, as I was leaving his room after putting Benjamin to bed, he said, “Mommy, I love you so much. I’m very happy. I feel just right”. I don’t know whether his “feeling just right” was referring to anything in particular, but regardless, I feel very happy, too.