I awoke early Wednesday morning, as is my nature, with a little help from my cat. My daughter was asleep beside me -- she'd had a tummy ache and fell asleep with me. I glanced over to her with a smile. Now, you may think that cats have a singular nature and care little for human contact. But cats are just like us ... some like to be alone while others prefer company and the human touch ...
My cat meows to inform me it's "our time." She wants me to turn on the Christmas tree, fix my coffee and settle into my chair so she can climb on my lap and snuggle. There's no distraction. There's no one but us.
She's been a little more adamant this month about Snuggle Time. And, even after I fix her breakfast, she comes back for more. Settling into my lap and wrapping her tail around my arm. And when I brought my computer to my lap to begin this blog, she informed me that was just not acceptable. She sat beside me until I put it down then took her place, afterward climbing onto my footstool for additional caressing.
It's funny how she helps me settle down ... slow down ...
In this Festive time of the year ... that's what Charles Dickens called it in A Christmas Carol ... our focus is scattered. We have lists of things to do and concerts to attend and work to fit in and cookies to bake and projects to complete and wishes to grant. Distracted by the many things on our to do lists and to buy lists, there is a crazy element to driving ... frenetic even. It's scary out there.
As a kid, I don't remember "holiday stress." When did it happen? When did we lose the Joy and the Wonder?
I'm guilty of it. December hit me and brought a sense of Dread ... All these things to do, decorating to accomplish and shopping aka finding the perfect gift for everyone ... no pressure really. Amidst that, there were work events to plan and kids to schlep to their choir practices, piano lessons, swim practices and extra ballet sessions -- and don't get me started on the holiday concerts. I felt more stress and anxiety than Holiday Spirit.
At Christmas, I struggle with the lists. See I like to select that perfect gift for the people important to me. It's not a financial thing ... it's finding something that expresses a feeling or captures a shared passion or reminds me why we are close. And, once in a while I find it ... something I select because I know the person I'm buying for. And the look in their eyes as they unwrap that brightly colored package and see something that means something ... It's one of those moments MasterCard defines correctly as Priceless.
It's a crazy time of year, no matter what Dickens said. And the selfless reason and faith-based aspect of the season gets lost in holiday traffic more times than I care to admit. So Here's my Holiday Wish for you: Do something to find the Wonder ...
I found it recently. How? Well I decided in one of my more stressed-out moments that I needed to find One Moment of Joy & Wonder every single day. Just One. So, I've intentionally taken more time recently to spend with special friends and my parents -- on the phone or face to face as our locations allow. I found Joy laughing at The Muppet Christmas Carol and watching a family friend meet the challenge of a sour Margarita. I found Wonder spending time out on the town eating Mexican food and catching up. I saw Sparkle in the orange glistening on a glass of Blue Moon. I supported my inner child by signing up for a coloring class with another friend after the holidays.
There's a theme here. It's not in what I did but the Moments spent Connecting with people I care for.
I found Holiday Spirit listening to my daughter sing Winter Wonderland while she held my hand in the car. I found Joy & Wonder when my son and I struggled to make bracelets for his Secret Santa and then settled in to watch a Leverage Christmas episode. I found a Smile as my husband coached his Diving Team and cheered on our son's swimming -- and when he decorated the front of the house ... All the lights and evergreen roping. I found a Smile as I spoke with my friend in Chicago as selected an Angel Card for this time. And, I experience true Magic in the traditional trip to see Santa -- a few simple moments with my children while we enjoyed our Starbucks breakfast.
I find Joy catching up with my Family and Friends. I find Wonder presenting a specially selected gift and watching eyes light up in discovery. I find Magic in the look in my cat's eyes as she cuddles with me.
One of my dearest moments each year is crafting my Christmas Email with the photo from the Santa Trip. I just can't get cards done anymore ... but my Christmas Message is full of heart and love and appreciation ... And I think people get that ...
See the Magic of this time of year is not found rushing around. It's found in the simple and special times with People -- and Cats -- who give our life meaning, Joy ... and Wonder.
Merry Christmas to All ... God Bless Us Every One ...