Every day we start out with 24 hours. From 12:00 a.m. until 11:59 p.m. we have 24 hours in which to accomplish all that is on our to-do list. Over the holidays my 24 hours seemed about 4 hours shorter then normal and my to-do list seemed about 2 pages longer. Due to construction and destruction at our house, working and shopping and baking and cleaning (okay, not so much the cleaning but at least I stayed on top of the laundry) we were all feeling the frantic rush of the holiday festivities.
Until Wednesday night.
Christmas morning we woke up and had presents to open. There was laughter, tears and the gamut of emotions and lots of pictures taken. But then I had to go to work and I will admit while I was grateful that I have a job it was hard to be “stuck in the office” while my family enjoyed time together. Again, Satan was trying to steal my joy. So I tried to pray for the doctors and nurses and the patient’s that were working with me as well, for the other editors that were on call and for friends that I knew were working. The hours went by a bit faster when I started thinking about others, not about myself.
After work we were out the door to mom and dads where gifts were exchanged and more memories were made. Money has been tight for everyone this year, including us, so we didn’t buy a lot of gifts but it was just right. We didn’t spend 3-4 hours opening presents but we got to spend time talking and resting and relaxing together. I thought it was hilarious that after all the gifts were opened the kids had more fun with the bubble wrap. We stayed late at my parents and came home to get ready to go see WH family the next day.
WH’s family lives a couple of hours away. It is hard to have a relationship with someone when you don’t get to spend time together. As a daughter-in-law you can get your feelings hurt or inadvertently hurt someone else’s feelings because you haven’t had a chance to get to know them. I prayed I wouldn’t say something stupid or embarrass WH or DD and that we would all be able to enjoy the day. The day was a gift.
The kids did great, everyone got along, there was laughter and goofiness and my sister-in-law gave me some elephant sauce (so I could eat my elephant one bite at a time), and games were played, babies loved on, and more pictures taken and connections were made stronger. I felt more like a daughter and a friend, not just WH’s wife or DD’s mom, or a wicked stepmother. I felt accepted and loved and that I belonged and that was a wonderful gift.
We spent the entire day and I never once looked at my watch. We got home late Saturday, tired but refilled in our hearts. DD said on the way home that while she hadn’t got a lot of presents that was okay, because she had been able to spend time with her family and that was a great feeling. Yeah, she’s pretty smart and I’m glad she realized what a gift she had been given.
I am back at work this week and New Year will be spent with more family out of town. I’m looking forward to that gift as well because now I know what the secret is, slow down, breath, and laugh together. It’s a priceless gift you can share with everyone and the cool thing is, when you give it away you get it back.