I LIVE for Christmas time – I mean I really love the magic of Christmas. This holiday season, like every season since I can remember, I am filling my days creating magic for those around me. And I love it – I really do. I have always been a competitive gift-giver, striving to get each person the gift that will stand out as “their favorite.” I start thinking of the gifts I’m going to purchase or make months in advance, visualizing what I can give that will add value to each loved-one’s life. I love wrapping presents – even though I’m terrible at it. Every year, I line up all my gifts as I watch my all-time favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, and get goosebumps and cry amid scraps of paper burying the scissors and tape. And while I keep taking the butter out and putting it back in the fridge every day, I do eventually plan on baking one of these days. Not a ton – but just a few family favorites I can share on Christmas eve and Christmas morning with our families.
And I love all this – I do…I really do. But…
I’ve been feeling a little tiny bit “humbug-ish” this year. I’m doing all my favorite things, but this year, there’s a teeny tiny voice coming from the pit of my stomach asking, “What about me?”
What about me?!
I know it’s my turn, as a parent, to be magical for everyone around me, but…I like magic too. I daresay, I admit that I WANT some magic. Maybe I even NEED it. And despite years of me saying to my husband, “Let’s not get each other anything big for Christmas” This year, when he asked, “Are we getting each other gifts?” I felt a stab of sadness and snapped, ‘Uh…yeah, I want to open something on Christmas this year…doesn’t everybody?”
Ick. What’s wrong with me? What’s with this year? Shouldn’t I be happy with this amazing life I have? Healthy, happy children, a loving husband, the means with which to create magic for all my loved ones? A fulfilling career. How dare I ask for MAGIC on top of it all?
If I think about it, I’m sure there are plenty of reasons. Perhaps it’s the impending loss of my own mother’s magic-making. Alzheimer’s has taken away the “caring touch” that was pretty much her only way of communicating the fullness of her love. Perhaps it’s what I call, “living in the thick of it.” We are neck-deep in child-rearing and finding it difficult, at times, to weather the daily storms we face. If feels like we’re in a constant cycle of quickly patching up holes in the boat only to get smacked with a new wave of challenges. Perhaps I’m just a little bit tired because I’m staying up too late, desperately holding on to a few more moments of free-time before staring a new day in the face (which often takes the form of my 3 year old, inches from my nose, announcing in the dark that A. He’s awake. B. He has to go pee pee. And C. He’s not tired anymore.)
Even so…I have to admit I felt guilty for wanting more. Everyone has their trials and tribulations to manage – we all have holes in the boat. What’s so special about MINE that I should want magic on top of it all?
Why are we afraid, embarrassed or ashamed to ask for anything to make us feel a little more special? A little more magical? Taken care of? Maybe we’re afraid to admit that our lives aren’t perfect?
If we admit we want more, will the fragile beauty of our own little messy lives be any less beautiful? I realized for the first time that the answer to that is, NO.
Guess what? We can love our lives, and be appreciative of what we have, and thank our Maker every day for the countless blessings we have and STILL WANT TO FEEL SPECIAL on top of it all.
Guess what? It doesn’t make us unappreciative to want to actually FEEL…appreciated.
And then I realized that if I wanted magic, I could make magic. I’m really quite excellent at making magic for other people – why couldn’t I figure out how to make magic for myself? And I decided that not only I deserved magic, but that I suspected other people might feel the same way – afraid to ask for something special for themselves. So I cast the net and reached out on Facebook and found 7 other moms in my community who were brave enough to admit that they, too, needed to feel taken-care-of by somebody…anybody. We started a little Secret Santa for each other.
My packages arrive, and my children ask, “Who’s that from? What’s that?” And I tell them, “It’s a special gift for Mommy…because I deserve it!” And I explain to them that Mommy’s like to be taken care of, too. Imagine that, my loves! Mommy needs to be taken care of too.
That’s a pretty good lesson to teach our children.
I just got back from the first of three intergenerational holiday music sessions at the Milwaukee Catholic Home. I’m always SO touched at how willing my families are to pack up their kiddos, dress them in adorable holiday clothing and sit on the floor of the community room of an assisted living center to make music together. And to see pure and simple joy radiate across the residents' faces…I mean…you’d have to try REAL hard not to get “all the feels” from those 45 minutes we just spent together. I left the building with a FULL heart, feeling so fully consumed with holiday magic that I helped create…
And then I came home to a stocking in my mailbox, stuffed with a beautiful hand-made music-note angel.
Somebody knows I make music. Somebody took time to make this, with JUST me in mind. Somebody took time out of her day to deliver this, driving away feeling good inside that I’d come home and find it. My heart was spilling with emotion as I found the perfect place on the tree for my new angel. I felt special, magical, and taken care of.
Magic comes full circle when you open your heart up to not only GIVING it…but RECEIVING it, as well. It’s OK to ask for more. It’s OK to find a way to receive, as well as give. As your heart becomes FULL from receiving, there’s more to GIVE freely to others.
I wish you all a holiday season full of giving AND receiving. It’s not too late to find a way to receive some magic. Make it your priority for the rest of the season…or maybe, make it your resolution for the year. You deserve it. We all do.