Oh you dear sweet mommas who still have children, especially school age ones, at home and are about to be overwhelmed with holiday chaos, I say to you, “REJOICE.”
Yes I know, about now some of you are feeling like anything but rejoicing. You are exhausted from Thanksgiving. Either you had everyone to your house (oh, my) or you loaded up the whole gang and made your way to the grandparents. Yes, I know about the burned pies or the spilled casserole. I also know about how adorable the children looked when you put them in the car, but by the time you got to grandma’s house they had managed to find the … (fill in the blank, it is different for all of us) you had lost in the car a month ago and smear it all over themselves and the child next to them. Still I say, “REJOICE.”
I know, I know, you have had it with cute school holiday projects (don’t they know you have three children) and programs. And yes, we all do understand the monumental task it was to get that picture made for your family Christmas card. You will not win any mother of the year awards for all the threatening and bribing you did just to get them to wear those matching sweaters and sit still for just one more photo (actually, 20 more photos). And you need to forgive yourself for your homicidal thoughts toward your best friend who could not help but share that her family took the perfect photo in just one take. God did not give you “those” children. He gave you, well He gave you, a challenge. Comfort yourself with the thought that she would fall apart in just one day at your house and you are rising to the occasion. God must have a lot of faith in you! That help’s doesn’t it? Yeah, I know, not really, but I tried. Still I say, “REJOICE.”
Brace yourself dear woman because there are still Christmas parades to attend. And yes, it will be the coldest night of the year; your husband will have to work late; you will have to get your oldest child to the front of the parade – position 5 — to march with the… (again, fill in the blank) and your middle child to position 46 – almost to the end of the parade. Still I say, “REJOICE.”
Do I dare bring up the Christmas pageants at church, the birthday party for Jesus that you agreed to bake five dozen cookies for six weeks ago, before you lost your mind. How about the extra rehearsals for the recitals, plays, ballet, or holiday basketball tournament? I haven’t even mentioned house decorating or gift buying! All this needs to be done on top of your already hectic routine of work, housekeeping, chauffeuring, and scheduling doctor, dentist, eye doctor and hair cut appointments. I still say, “REJOICE.”
You see, those little darlings that you are running yourself ragged for right now will, in fact, one day be gone. They will leave the nest and strike out on their own with their own lives, friends, and, yes hopefully, jobs.
Oh now, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying rejoice because one day it will all end and you will be free. I am saying rejoice because you are in the midst of it. You can put your hands on those sweet faces every day. They go where you go and you go where they go.
You know where they are and what they are doing – that is unless they are teenagers, and then you need private detectives to know exactly what they are doing. And again forgive yourself for your homicidal thoughts toward your girlfriend with the perfect kids. God’s got “this” and your kids covered. And if you need some help with that detective work just give me a call. I have lots of experience. I am especially good at tracking down drunken high schoolers in the middle of the night, in the middle of the woods – in my pajamas no less! Fun times. Still I say, “REJOICE.”
The day is coming when you will no longer make all their appointments, drive them to the appointments, call them to make sure they have driven themselves or their siblings to the appointment. You will no longer have to get anyone to the parade, practice, music lessons, or games. Your house will be empty. No more school programs or class trips. Do not rejoice over this.
There will come a day as the holidays arrive that you will call your precious child who has moved out of your house and off your payroll – yes, rejoice over that! You will call to see if they can make it home for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Our boys are now 28, 25, and 23. The oldest moved away to Florida for a few years. We missed some holidays with him. New job and too much distance. He is now closer, but still vacation days are limited and there is a young woman in his life. Her needs must be accounted for.
Our middle son has started his career as a Civil Engineer in a town about two hours away so not bad but again vacation days must be considered because the family Thanksgiving is a five hour drive for him. And every other year our Christmas is in Florida.
Our youngest has just started law school, and up until this year jobs have kept him away for Thanksgiving.
This is what we spent all those crazy years training them for: life on their own. Our goal was to raise young men who could lead and provide for their households. Men who could make their wives and children feel secure and safe. From all accounts it looks as if we have been successful.
But now each year that passes we wait to see who will be able to make it home and who will have to miss the family gathering. Thankfully, this year we get to have all three boys together for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
So you mommas who are still in the thick of it, REJOICE! You know all your babies will be right by your side this Christmas morning.
And for those of us with grown up babies, we will REJOICE as well, whether they are with us or not, for we have been greatly blessed with memories of the chaos!