This past week has been hard on the Bean. There has been zero quality time on my end. Everything is “in one second” “just a minute” “all I need is 5 minutes and then we can play”. I promised her that once this workday is over and we hit the road I am hers for a whole week. Granted we will be with a bunch more family so she won’t be neglected by any sense of the word, but I feel bad that I dropped her off at holiday camp today. I feel bad that we weren’t starting our vacation this morning, that work has to take the front seat some days. I am not one to make resolutions but I am making two this year, and one is to slow it down a bit. To savor the moments. Throughout the year I kept saying “how is it already ___” and part of the reason is because I am always looking forward, to the next goal, then next vacation, the next item on the to-do list. I don’t take enough time to sit and enjoy a meal with Sofia and Ajay, or to snuggle the bean while we watch a movie. I find myself saying “I’ll be there in one minute” way too often. One minute turns into one hour and another moment is missed.
Yesterday Sofia and I went to visit our Nana and Papa at Nana’s “apartment” as Sofia fondly calls it. Papa and I were reminiscing about Christmas eves of the past, ones filled with midnight mass at the retreat house followed by driving around looking at Christmas lights. He reminded me why I find Christmas eve so magical. Because of the spirit, because of the tradition, because of the hope and the sense of peace. Because of the family, because of the memories. He also reminded me how much things have changed, even from last Christmas. I don’t think last Christmas he anticipated spending this Christmas up north with his children, but without the company of Nana. I can hear the sadness in his voice when he wishes us a Merry Christmas. I think about our childhood and how lucky we were to grow up with our grandparents in town, and that they were so involved in our lives. Every Sunday it was a stop by Nana and Papa’s, every basketball game I knew I could look into the crowds and see my Nonno. Anytime we needed a hug from our Nonna she was right next door. How lucky right? How blessed is more like it. It makes me happy that Sofia is growing up the same way. Sofia calls her cousins her sisters and brothers. How sweet right? How blessed is more like it. She shouts to the world that we are heading to Spokane to see Bebe and Grandpa and she cannot contain her excitement. Again, how blessed.
I remember being excited on Christmas morning and thinking at the time it was all about the presents. Now looking back I know that wasn’t the case. Bean keeps asking when the presents come and how excited she is for Santa. Deep down I know that it’s not all about presents for her, that most of the excitement would be gone if she wasn’t surrounded on Christmas morning by the family she loves, that loves her… Okay, so maybe right now it is all about the presents for her, but I know that when she looks back she will have wonderful memories of family and tradition like I do now. That she will know how blessed she really is. And that right there is enough reason for me to want to slow down a bit this Christmas, to linger over each gift a bit more, to hug a little bit longer, to look around in all the chaos and soak in the joy and the love that surrounds us. I hope you will do the same.