About midway into October I started missing my little kids.You know. The boys who dressed up like ninjas for Halloween parades and traced outlines of their hands with chubby crayons to make Thanksgiving turkeys and wrote letters to Santa Claus.Yup. Those were the days. Only I'd been too stupid to realize it then.Anyway, I decided to shake my holiday funk by going to the Festival of Trees, something I haven't done for many decades. So I put on an ACTUAL CHRISTMAS SWEATER with SATIN (!) SNOWMEN APPLIQUES and went with my friend Doni.(Two quick observations here. First, everybody should have a fabulous friend like Doni who will go places with you that no one else will ...Second, no one — except for kindergarten teachers — wears holiday sweaters in public anymore. Not even at places like the Festival of Five Billion Christmas Trees. Have you noticed? Oh my gosh! HOW DID I MISS THAT CRUCIAL FASHION UPDATE?)
Anyhoodle! This is NOT a column about Christmas sweaters and how I started apologizing to random strangers for wearing one at the Festival of Ten Trillion Theme Christmas Trees earlier this month. No!
This is a column about what I saw there — namely, a family with five little kids.
They were leaving just as I was arriving, and I can totally promise you that NOBODY looked happy. In fact, a couple of the kids were crying.
"Why do you think it's OK to run into people in the aisles?" The dad was saying this to one of the boys who had on a pair of those shoes with wheels in the soles.
"I couldn't find my other shoes!" wailed the kid.
This is where the mom piped up. "Well, if you put your shoes up where they go, that wouldn't be a problem now, would it!"
OK. I started to laugh because I remember having identical conversations when our five kids were small. And it hit me that while there's stuff I miss about having a young family, there's lots to like about this stage of life, too. EVEN when I get mixed up and wear Christmas sweaters with satin snowmen appliques in public.
(Thanks, Doni, for not ditching me!)
The trick is to notice the things you love about your life right now. The trick is to "take joy" in the present moment.
The late illustrator Tasha Tudor often referred to a Christmas letter written by Fra Giovanni in 1513. I don't think either of them will mind if I share it with you here.
I salute you! There is nothing I can give you which you have not; but there is much, that, while I cannot give, you can take.No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take Heaven.
No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present instant. Take Peace.
The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet, within our reach, is joy. Take joy.
And so, at this Christmas time, I greet you,with the prayer that for you, now and forever, the day breaks and the shadows flee away.