The snowy fields glisten as the sunlight dances on the hillside. Winter’s blasts will soon be here.
And, as I anticipate them while sitting alone in my warm living room, I remember other chilly nights around this fireplace, roasting marshmallows with my growing boys. At that time, my biggest worry was whether the crackling embers might pop onto the carpet. And later that night, I worried about that wood stove insert – was it really a good idea? My sleep was constantly interrupted as I awoke to ensure the fire didn’t die out through the night. I had little boys to keep warm while their daddy worked.
A mother’s greatest priority is always to keep her children healthy and safe from harm. I took that role very seriously. Now that my boys have homes and families of their own, my care and concerns have expanded to encompass their families. Some traditions run deep – and have roots buried deep in the past.
Long ago, every Christmas morning, my son’s stockings contained a ‘letter from Santa.’ Magically appearing, it would recount their accomplishments and hopes for the coming year. It meant so much to me that my boys would know someone was always watching and making notes. *Hint: they soon learned that Santa was someone who loved them very much, just like the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Jason, my eldest, said very early in life, “Mom, that sounds just like you!”
Now they are grown men creating Christmas memories of their own. I visit their homes and marvel at how things seem different, yet very much the same: building gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve, singing Christmas carols around the tree as it is first lit, visiting grandparents’ houses, lighted heirloom Christmas churches glowing. Weather permitting, we’d go sledding down the farm’s hills, build snow forts and snowmen, and drive through the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights and decorations.
I cherish those many reminders that my sons still treasure the simple things we did during the Christmas season here on the farm.
This mother still wishes to keep her sons healthy and safe. However, I would add a few wishes for my grown sons and you. These are some lessons I learned the hard way…
- Laugh together as you build your family. Life will be messy and loud, but who cares? I was stressed way too often about inconsequential little things. Concentrate on making happy memories, not a picture-perfect Christmas. When you realize everything you have, you’ll know you don’t need another thing.
- Don’t let the pressure to make the ideal Christmas dictate your celebrations. Be flexible! And be good to yourself. Trying to do it all will deny you the joy of the best gift – family time.
- Reminisce together about your family Christmases as you create new memories. No matter how old your children or friends become, they all appreciate stories about their past.
- And most of all, remember the reason for Christmas, “For God so loved the world He gave His only Son.” Be grateful for all of God’s gifts, even the ones you didn’t ask for or want.
Now…take a deep breath and collapse onto your favorite chair with your favorite hot beverage in your hand. Look around you and appreciate what you see – sticky fingerprints and all. Know that you are loved far beyond even the love we shower on our closest family members and friends. Smile, and anticipate making new Christmas memories you will one day pass down to your children and their children.