It’s been 7 years. 7 incredibly long years. It feels longer and shorter than that to me– I can still remember trying really hard to pretend I wasn’t worried, talking to my mom about how beautiful the building we were waiting in was, talking about literally anything but the fact that I was waiting to hear what I already knew– I was having a miscarriage.
I looked at her, sitting there on the park bench. Her kids were well behaved, using their kind words, and she was engaged, oohing and ahhing over every stick or leaf they brought her. With her foot, she rocked her baby stroller back and forth. She had what looked like a homemade protein shake with her, and was wearing workout clothes, clearly having walked here, but looked completely put together with a full face of makeup.
Then I thought about how I must have looked… the yoga pants I had on yesterday, a bottle of juice from the fridge, messy bun, no makeup, checking my phone once in awhile as my son ran from slide to swing and back again. I was engaged for the first 5 or 6 really awesome leafs he brought me, and after that, resorted to nodding and saying “Oh, that’s nice, Ketchup! I love it…”
This year, I’m quitting resolutions altogether. I know that’s an odd statement to make in the very beginning of a post all about making resolutions you’ll keep, but stick with me here… the best way to set resolutions you’ll actually keep is to STOP MAKING RESOLUTIONS. That doesn’t mean not to resolve to do anything… but it means changing your mindset and your tactics so you can experience resolution success.
The holidays have always played a really important part in my life, and I really want to try my hardest to keep that magic alive for my son as well. That’s why, during the holiday season, I want to share a few thoughts on it with him.
My sweet boy,
Christmas is almost here. We’ve been counting down the days since Halloween, it seems, and I’m just thrilled to be celebrating the Christmas season with you. This season brings so much joy, and seeing your eyes light up with every twinkle of the Christmas tree just makes my world so much brighter.
I just want you to know that I will always try my hardest to make this season as magical as possible for you. I remember the magic of Christmas; though as you get older, sometimes the magic fades a little, part of the beauty of having a sweet son like you is that we can experience that magic all over again– together.
I know that so many people think that I’ve been this mean mom to ban toys at Christmas time, but I think you have seen the benefit of this in all of the unique gifts you get. Didn’t we have so much fun last year going to the science museum with our annual pass? Or doing our projects from the KiwiCrate boxes?
But to be honest, the best gift of all isn’t what we find under the tree, is it? The magic is in those activities we get to do together leading up to Christmas… our train ride with Santa, and our special activities together… doing things like baking Christmas cookies and decorating the tree and the house with our favorite things… and even just snuggling up and reading your favorite Christmas books. I know we’ve been reading a lot of that Duck and Goose Christmas tale– and I love hearing you read it to me, as well.
While I certainly hope we get some snow this winter so you can finally make the snow angel you’ve been dreaming of, I know even if we don’t, your spirits will be bright.
You see, the magic of this season isn’t everything about this season. We’ve already discussed the reason for the season and told the tale of how the Candy Cane relates to Jesus. You know the tales of our Savior’s birth, and why we celebrate this special holiday. The magic lies in our Savior, but it also lies in the time we spend together.
I just want you to know that the best Christmas gift of all, the one I look forward to the most, is the time I get to spend with you.
I love you, my best guy ever.
I wrote the letter above as part of an intentional habit to write more letters to my son. I’d love it if this inspired you to write a letter to your child this season, too. You can check out my previous posts on writing letters to your child– parts one, two, and three can be found at the links there.
It all started with a turkey. Just a simple, wild turkey who loved to hang out by the side of the highway just north of my hometown. He was there for about a year before someone made that first post in a community group for ladies in my town… “Hey, has anyone else seen that turkey on the highway?”
Moms, I get it. A lot of us painstakingly search for that perfect community for our kids to grow up in, and we’re so careful to find the right fit for our children; we want them to have a successful, happy, carefree life, and that starts with a happy, carefree childhood. Some of us don’t have a say in the community we live in, but still want it to be the best possible place to raise our children into kind, compassionate, God-fearing adults. That’s why a little over a year ago, I shared a post about 5 ways to pray for your community, because I know we all want to remember our community in prayer as our children go. But now, I’d really like to share 5 more ways you can raise your community up in prayer.
Sometimes I feel disconnected. Like… I am reading the words God is putting in front of me during Bible study, but like they’re not always connecting as well as I’d like. It’s not my comprehension. It’s my worry– it’s the constant string of thoughts on my mind that prevents me from fully disconnecting with the world and connecting with God in that peaceful, calm, quiet moment. As I read, it seems my mind is on a million to-dos, all of the things I haven’t accomplished. And I needed a way to disconnect. I really, truly did. I thought about how much I love to meditate over a coloring page or any other form of art. And then I realized… “I can do that with the Bible. I can have that meditative disconnect between me and the world so I can hear what God is saying to me.” So, I decided to make Bible art journaling a priority.
Recently, my sweet 3 year old developed a saying. At first glance, the saying is completely benign, even grammatically incorrect, but when you dig a little deeper, you realize that this mantra gives meaning to almost anything, and makes life a little bit more worth living.
You see, for the past year and a half, every knee scrape, every bad dream, would be met with the response from me, “Oh, Zach, it’s going to be okay, it will be fine, mommy is right here.” And Zach? Well, he’s taken it to a new level of meaning. Now, my son, in almost-Rastafarian form, replies to nearly everything with three simple words:
It Be Fine.
Tomorrow, on your way to work, you’re going to get hit by a bus. Tonight, as you’re out walking to the mailbox, a freak storm will hit and you’ll be struck by lightning. When you take your daily shower, you’re going to slip on a bar of soap and hit your head.
Okay, so these things probably aren’t going to happen. Chances are, you won’t die tomorrow. But what if you did? Would you feel fulfilled? We’re inundated with bucket lists– your summer bucket list of must-do items, your must-capture photos of spring break… heck, I even posted a must-do list for the month of January earlier this week. Those are all okay things. But how often do we take 5 minutes to think about the idea that “if I died right now… what is one thing I wished I had done?”
I think it’s at least fairly clear when you read my blog that I’m a Christian. I’ve talked about my faith before, often in some serious detail. But I don’t think I’ve ever shared what Christmas truly means to me, as a Christian.
Obviously, Christians celebrate Christmas as a symbol of Christ’s birth. Whether or not you believe that December 25 is his actual birthday, it’s time we’ve set aside intentionally to celebrate the miracle of that virgin birth.
But for me, Christmas means more than that.