I really wanted to write to you about the wonderful Winter Solstice that occurred yesterday. And while I intended to wax philosophical about shortest day and longest night of the year and eloquently process all the implications of metaphorical darkness and light, I realized very quickly, that I’m not particularly hip to astral events!!!!
But what I can talk to you about is the fast approaching holidays, the end of Hannukah, and the approaching Christmas and New Year, that inevitably bring with them a host of expectations, hopes and yearnings, followed by great joy for some, and incredible sadness, loss and disappointment for others. These special holidays are generally loaded with hopes and dreams that family gatherings will somehow result in that perfect Hallmark family moment you so desired.
I still dream of decorating the Christmas tree with my kids, fire cheerfully burning in the fireplace, my husband and I sipping wine as my cherubs happily share decorations and skillfully place them on the tree. Oh and the dog rests at my feet while I bask in the moment.
Well, let me tell you, my oldest is 18 and the younger child 15 and I’m still waiting…. I thought, nay, I hoped it would happen this year. In fact I very clearly articulated my desires to my lovely family! Nope, the reality is that the 15 year old wanted to play his computer games, my daughter shrugged her shoulders but did engage, and the hubby decided we had too many ornaments and packed up the boxes before even the dog had time to come and rest at my feet! Next year, I’ll have no expectations, except that I will build a fire, sip on my wine, put my feet up and trust that someone will decorate the tree, and the dog can even sit wherever the heck he wants.
So when you’re off to be with your family this weekend, hold on to your hopes but also be very real with yourself about the fact that you can’t quite change or control your family. When Aunt Ida asks how much weight you’ve lost or put on since she last saw you, or your Mom critiques your child’s manners, or you grandma asks why you are still single, remember that YOU are an adult; remember that you are enough, you matter, you count and that you never owe anyone an explanation for being exactly who you are.
Make some space for yourself this holiday season, and release some of your expectations of perfection. Take a little time and make a little space to slow down just for a bit, to choose to connect in with yourself, and to figure out just what you really want from this brief yet intense time with family. Set some firm yet loving boundaries as they not only protect you from hurt, but they also allow you to be present, real and open.
You really truly do not need to turn yourself inside out and race around to make this holiday “perfect”, for it to be wonderfully magical. Take some deep breaths, release those expectations with your exhale and decide how you want to BE to enjoy this holiday and then go be MERRY!