Monday, December 5, 2016

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year......

If the last week has told me anything, it has screamed in my face, "WAKE UP! THIS CHRISTMAS THING MEANS SOMETHING MORE!"

This brings me to my first point. That friggin' ELF! UGGG. I hate that fake little #$%^&*@. The last few years, I have dreaded to see December 1st coming because of him. In our household, it is difficult to remember to move him so I wake up in a sweat in the middle of the night or in a fright in the morning because we forgot to move Rob, the elf. My husband actually remembers better than I do and has saved me many times. Because Lord help us all if it does not move. I even entertained the idea that I read about where you wrap it's leg in tape. I could leave a note that it won't move spots all month because it fell off another elf roof. And yet, I find myself caving to the peer pressure aka Facebook. What kind of mom would I be if I didn't hide that damn elf every night. All my friends are doing it. Bad attitude and all, I watch my youngest child wake up on December 1st last week and he is immediately on the hunt. And then I see it. It's the magic. It's excitement. It's the wonder of the season. His little face is just so bright and happy and he see's Rob sitting in our tree, like an old friend. He cannot believe that the elf is watching him. From that moment on, I realize, this stuffed elf is actually a one way ticket to see Christmas through the eyes of a child. Something that we, as adults, so easily forget. This elf is not going to sabotage my month. It may be a pain in my neck, but the wonder I see when he finds the elf every morning or the discussion of where he may be in the morning, is worth the fear of waking up to realize I did not hide the elf! Ok, it's just for fun. I get it. My bad.

I started back to teaching this year after a ten year hiatus and can I just say, yes, I have cried in the bathroom at work. Pathetic, yet true. It has been a wild ride and basically, I have just been swimming in the ocean with no island in sight. Survival, people, it has been four months of survival. Going back to teaching after ten years is a thrilling and somewhat insane story that I will tell another time. But let me just say, there are more days than not, I get in the car and wonder how I just made it through another day. Was that a work day or was I just involved in a riot of very small people who cannot yet vote? But you do. You power through and go another day and wonder each day why small friends can't seem to write a complete sentence. And just when you think your head might explode because four small friends think that it is not important to put there name on a multiple choice test or that people love for the pencil sharpener to run constantly while they speak, you have that one student reign you in before your mental breakdown. That one student in your room who tells another teacher that he doesn't want anything for Christmas because he won't get gifts anyways so it doesn't matter. Go ahead, just walk all over my freakin' heart. Not all students have a great home life. While my own children cannot fathom why Sonic forgot the vanilla in their drink or why I will not let them wear the shirt with no writing, there are some kids who come to school and didn't eat the whole weekend. They don't have a coat. Life isn't all that great and Christmas present's aren't going to be waiting under their tree, much less an elf watching them. Life is harsh and it is real. And when you take a minute to realize the true meaning of giving and helping others, it all seems crystal clear.

Our lesson at church this morning was on point. It struck a chord with me and I was like yep, you are so right, preacher man. He said we let the stress of the holiday season get the best of us and we forget the real meaning of Christmas. Raise your hand if this is you and say I. I. Guilty. Yep, me.  Why, why do we do this over and over and over? Why are we frantic with all the decorations, and gift giving, and holiday parties. And I'm not saying we shouldn't do these things, but shouldn't we just enjoy them a little more? I mean there is some pressure for us to decorate the most beautiful tree. When I see other people's decorations and look at mine, I'm like when did I miss the decorating101? On Pinterest, I see these awesome decorated cookies and Christmas themed party foods all the while I'm buying some red and green wrapped Hershey kisses and calling it a win. Pinterest makes me frantic- so much so that I shut my computer and think to myself, I have got to run to the store immediately and get the ingredients to make Chex mix or this holiday season might not go on. And what about this Hatchimal craze? Dear. Lord. It has made my heart happy reading all the excitement and insanity seeing my sweet friends try to track down one of these critters. Kudos if you got your hands on one, btw. All day I have been thinking about what he told us at church this morning. Guess what? My tree is perfect with all my sentimental ornaments that mean something to my family and my friends tree is perfect that looks like it came from a beautiful display at Nordstroms. Bought cookies and Hershey kisses are just as good as homemade Chex Mix and Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls. And whether you find that one toy that your kid wants or they are sold out and your move to #2 on their list, Christmas will still be Christmas. When Hobby Lobby runs out of your favorite, thick grade wrapping paper, that is merely a first world problem. Those things don't really matter in the scheme of the holiday season. Stop. Take a breath, and enjoy the little things that mean the most.

My hometown school system experienced a tragedy this past Friday night that ended up with the death of a sponsor and injuries of several other people in a terrible automobile accident. It's a sad situation and so scary for so many people involved. But in the last 48 hours, I have seen that basic human descency still exists. My little hometown has had an outpouring of love, prayers, and support. There have been people and schools from all over the state and beyond sending them messages of support. It shows you that people do care about each other and when people are in need, you help. You help in all different ways. You go out of your way and make sure another person is comfortable and taken care of. You pray with them. You cry with them. You try to lighten their burden. The world may seem crazy, and dreadful, and bleak. But when the going gets tough, fear not.  There are still good people who will step up and help. I find this so refreshing.

If you are still with me let me just end with this. I have experienced, first hand, how hard the most wonderful time of the year is for so many people. Listen and listen good. Christmas is about the people and the memories you make. Christmas is about the people you help. While you worry about if you have the right color scheme with your Christmas decorations, remember that your true friends don't care if you went with a neutral theme or a plastic blinking Santa. And when you can't find the Hatchimal and have to buy the doll instead, remember there's a little boy sitting at home looking at an empty tree.  When you forget to move the freakin elf and have to sprint across your living room and throw it on top of the kitchen cabinets 15 seconds before your kid walks in, just take a minute to remember-that elf is not here to ruin your holiday. It's seeing your child experience the wonder of the season.

I still have hope. I still believe we can all remember the true meaning of Christmas.  And repeat after me......The Elf is not the boss of me.