Hindsight Parenting: Five Christmas Wishes
Happy Holidays, Everyone!
Our friend, Hindsight has been really busy this season. He is working overtime reminding me of the mistakes I made over the many Christmases with my sons. He’s reminded me of the ridiculous pickles I had gotten myself into, and the misery irrationally placed upon me because of perceived have-to’s and should-do’s. And like the loyal friend that he is, he has taught me much this season, or I should say he has taught me much ABOUT the season; what it is and what it isn’t. He’s reminded me that Christmas means magic and love and togetherness. It means traditions and family and bustle and wishes, most of all wishes. I’d like to share the wisdom Hindsight has imparted to me over these past few weeks, and because he tells me that those Christmas wishes are an integral part of the season, I’ve decided to pass on his knowledge in the form of a wish list for you…
My Christmas Wish List:
- This season gather those that are most important to you. Celebrate each other. Whether it be around a dinner table, at a holiday party or skyping with loved ones far. My wish for you is to remember and rejoice in the miraculous nature of love; love you have for others and the love they have for you.
- Remember the magic that surrounds your children this time of year. Don’t shy away from it. Wonder out loud if that blinking light on top of the water tower is really Rudolph’s nose. Have a certain Elf on a Shelf come and live with you and show up in the strangest of poses and places every morning. Count down to the big day by reading a holiday book each night, or untying a candy kiss upon a piece of felt. Stand in the first snow fall with your child and let the flakes pile up on your hair and eyelashes. Drive aimlessly marveling at the twinkling lights and figurines. Make magic for your children. This is my wish for you.
- Give, give, and give. Not monetarily. It isn’t necessary. Give by smiling at a coworker that you don’t normally notice. Write a letter to a person that you have long missed or held a grudge against, or should have thanked long ago. Hold the door open for a shopper with arms full of packages. Bake for your neighbor, colleagues, family. Teach your children the joys of giving. If they are truly little, point out the smile that someone got when they received that batch of cookies. Tell them how happy that child will be when she wakes up and receives that stuffed animal that they donated. If your children are older, congratulate them when they decide to give, and if they don’t, take them along with you when YOU give of yourself. Give dear readers, for in giving we receive so much. This is my wish for you.
- Enjoy the process, the hustle, the bustle that comes along with the holidays. So you’re putting together homemade peppermint foot soak for your daughter’s teachers at 8:30 on a school night. Relax your shoulders. Who cares if the toddler’s up past her bedtime? Who cares if she spills the Epsom salts all over the table? Stay present. Sing Jingle Bells. Notice her smile. Answer her constant questions. Let her be involved—it isn’t about perfection; it is about the time spent. Are you enjoying it? No? Find some joy in the hoopla. Remember it won’t always be this way. Don’t malign the bustle. Revel in it. This is my wish for you.
- Make it meaningful. Try and remember that that morning– Christmas morning–isn’t about the AMOUNT of gifts under the tree. It isn’t about how long it takes you to open the gifts. It isn’t about the perfect Norman Rockwell scenario that you create in your very active imagination. Trying to make sure you and your family have THAT kind of holiday is exhausting for you and entitles your children. Each year becomes one where you must find a way to make it as spectacular if not MORE spectacular than the last. Don’t teach your children that a flawless PRODUCTION is what the holiday season is all about. Listen during the year to your children. Think about what it is that they need. Purchase smartly. “Something they want, something to read, something to wear, something to read” this is our mantra for gift giving now…and because Christmas is all about the magic, I have added ONE complete and utter surprise. Five gifts—five to open and enjoy and not be overwhelmed by, five gifts to teach appreciation.
Remember dear readers, it isn’t ONLY about the gifts. If you are religious, it is about the miracle of a child. If you aren’t, it is still about miracles; the miracles of love and magic and togetherness; the miracles of bustle and traditions and family and wishes that come true. And that will be how I end this year’s last column my dear readers. My last wish for you is that all of YOUR wishes be fulfilled.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Logan has lived in Glens Falls, NY all her life. By day, she is an educator with 20 years experience, a mom to Aidan and Gannan, her two teenage boys, a new mommy to a beautiful daughter, Ila, and wife to the love of her life, Jeffrey. By night, weekends and any spare time she can find, Logan writes. She loves memoir and also adores writing essays about the challenges of parenthood. This year she started a parenting blog called A Muddled Mother, an honest place where mothers aren’t afraid to speak of the complications and difficulties that we all inevitably experience. Logan has been published in various children’s and parenting magazines including Today’s Motherhood, Eye on Education, Faces, and Appleseed. Logan’s previous column for Hilltown Families, Snakes and Snails: Teenage Boys Tales ran bi-monthly from June 2010-Feb. 2011, sharing stories of her first time around as a parent of two teenage boys. — Check out Hindsight Parenting: Raising Kids the Second Time Around every first and third Tuesday of the month.