This is the first year I chose a word to work on through the year. I chose 'enough'. My expectations weren't terribly high, but I was curious to see what focusing on it would bring. Saying enough to those things that were too much, working on getting enough of those things I needed. And learning what is enough. That turned out to be the biggest lesson for me. What is enough? How can I better recognize it? I am still learning it.
Through the year, I have had many times when I saw that things were getting to be too much and I was able to consciously take a step back and say enough. I spent more time at home. I worked on things that made me happy, like projects for my home and family, and those around me. I stepped up in asking for those things I needed and let go of those things I didn't. It has been a great year in that respect.
But this figuring out what is enough is one I will probably keep learning for a long time. Learning what it means for myself and for my children. Giving them enough of the right things and limiting those things that aren't so great.
I remember being told in a blessing several years ago not to limit my family for financial reasons because there would always be money for babies. That blessing and promise have stayed with me as things have gotten leaner. When we had Charlotte and I didn't go back to work, I worried about having enough, but leaned on that blessing. We somehow had enough. And now with another little one and Adam's office closing, and his now having to work in another city, I have worried about having enough. We are leaner than we have ever been. And yet, somehow there is still dinner on the table, and clothes for my kids. We may not always have extras, but somehow God has blessed us with enough. Through the kindness of family and friends and angels in our lives, we even get a few extras now and then.
Christmas is a tough time when you are barely getting by. I worry every year about having a good Christmas for my kids. They are getting old enough now to recognize if there aren't many gifts under the tree. I was worried this year about how we were going to explain the lack of too many presents. But as the snow has fallen the last few days and I have started feeling Christmassy, I realized this year is really a gift to me of enough. It is an opportunity for me to step back and see that we don't need the gifts. We have enough of those things that are really important at Christmas. Family, friends and the spirit of Christ. As we have struggled being apart, I know so much more the value of my husband as a part of our family. I always knew he was the most important thing to me, but absence has certainly made my heart grow fonder and realize just how lost our little family is without its head. I have watched my kids step up and be more helpful because they know that daddy isn't here to do some things. I have watched them struggle with missing him. And I know there are so many out there whose fathers aren't coming home for Christmas or ever. We are so very blessed to have our family healthy and whole and to know that we can all be together.
My kids will be learning the true meaning of Christmas this year as we concentrate on listening to the spirit, remembering Christ and trying to shine His light in our countenances, and spending time with loved ones. Somehow I don't think they will worry too much about how many presents are under the tree. And if they do, they can join me in learning what is 'enough'. :)
I am not one to put up a tree early. Back when we did live trees it was a fire hazard to put it up too early. But now that I have a fake tree and can put it up whenever, I feel the need for that reminder of the holidays. For the lights that remind me of the light of Christ. For the ornaments that bring back memories of Christmases past. I have many precious ones that have been given to me, each with its own story. For the peace it brings me in the evenings to sit in the soft light of the tree and read a book. For the joy on my kids faces as they rearrange where everything belongs until it looks just right and then do it again when Charlotte moves everything while they are gone. (Thank you unbreakable Walmart ornaments!) For listening to them tell about how they made this one or that one and when. I want that spirit of joy and love and laughter to last a little longer this year.
I want Thanksgiving to have its day too, but this year I think Christmas is coming a little early in our house. Our Christmas is going to be all about gratitude, so hopefully we can blend the two together and make one long thankful season of joy.