The Spirit of the Holidays – Conversations with My Six-Year-Old

spirit

The holiday season is in full swing and the spirit of the year can be found all around us. Everywhere I turn I see beautiful wreaths hung with red ribbon, trees twinkling in the night, and smiles on the faces of strangers. I absolutely adore the generosity and purity that flows within us this time of year. I sincerely hope my children will learn and understand the importance of giving to others. I pray that I  teach them to hold dear their loved ones and to cherish their friendships, their health, and their opportunities in life.

After a few recent conversations with my six-year-old Ella, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the magic and innocence of childhood. That, and the fact that she made me laugh, a lot.

The Spirit of Remembrance:

Ella: Mom, I need the binoculars.

Me: For what?

Ella: So I can go outside and look for Great Grandma Nonny in the sky.

Me: Okay, but it’s kind of cloudy out so you might not see her.

Ella: Oh. Oh well then maybe I can see a bird poop while it’s flying.

The Spirit of Knowing Who’s Boss:

Me: Ella, you forgot to make your bed this morning.

Ella: I know mom. It’s just that I have coat room clean-up at school this week.

Me: Well that’s no excuse for not helping out at home.

Ella: Mrs. M said that coat room was my only chore for the week.

Me: At school, not at home.

Ella: Oh yeah. And she is bigger and older than you. And she wears red lipstick.

Me: So.

Ella: Exactly.

The Spirit of Conversation:

Me: Ella, what do you want Santa to bring you this year?

Ella: A canopy.

Ethen (my four-year-old): A can of what?

Ella: A canopy.

Ethen: A can of PEE? <giggle>

Me: No potty talk. <Snort>

The Spirit of Supporting Our Troops:

Ella: I want to join the army.

Me: When did you decide that?

Ella: When I saw how much stuff they had there.

Me: What are you talking about?

Ella: At that place where they have tons of stuff. I really want to join there.

Me: Are you talking about the Salvation Army?

Ella: Yep. That’s it. Can I join?

The Spirit of Friendship:

Ella: Who is ‘Tot’ and where does she live?

Me: What? Who?

Ella: You know, that girl named Tot. I heard she gets tons of toys.

Me: You mean Toys for Tots?

Ella: Yes. Can you call her mom for a play date?

The Spirit of Health:

Ella: Mom, can we do yoga together?

Me: Sure.

Ella: Okay, just bend over and I’ll climb up on your back.

Me: Ummmm. What yoga pose is that?

Ella: The one where you carry me around the house until your legs fall off.

Me: Uhh.

Ella: Come on, it will be good for you.

The Life of a Mother

Oil painting: “Mother and Child”
By artist: Gustav Klimt

There is a mother who stands tall like a tree in a garden.

She is a mother of tolerance.

She happily tolerates all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of resilience.

She happily bends and twists and turns to accommodate all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of strength.

She happily lifts and embraces all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of enlightenment.

She happily teaches and tests all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of grace.

She happily gives of her spirit to all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of fortitude.

She happily faces the challenges of all the children who whimsically dance around her.

She is a mother of life.

She happily nurtures all the children who whimsically dance around her.

There is a mother who stands tall like a tree in a garden–

She is a mother of piercing love.

She is you.

in the moment

Be in the moment.

Be in the moment.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Hold on to it.

Mommeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Hold on to it.

Mommeeeeeeeeeee!!!

and….done.

Oh yes! A record ten seconds to clear my head!

Live in the moment.  We hear this saying all the time in some form or another.  Whether it be in a yoga class, philosophy book, or from the older lady at Target who is keen on observing our primo mommying adventures.  But what does it really mean to us as mothers?  Frankly, I find it extremely hard to “be” in the moment as a mom.  I am constantly on the go, go, go.  With housework and work work  and play dates and nap time and bedtime and lunch time and freak-out time (the kids, not me—OK, me too!), there never seems like enough time in the day to actually exist in the moment.  As a mother to small children, I feel like I am constantly battling.  I’m battling laundry and dishes and dirty floors and messy bedrooms and scraped knees and melt-downs.  All the while leaving me exhausted and short-tempered, craving a piece of chocolate cake and a shower.

To revel in a clear mind and a calm body, it feels foreign to most.  And it shouldn’t.  Maybe the definition of living in the moment has everything to do with the jumbled and discombobulated life I do live and nothing to do with the life I perceive it to represent.  Not yearning for the past when I was flying solo or a future that holds the next best thing to make my life easier.  The clean house that I strive for or the live-in nanny that I will never have, but dream about often.  Maybe if I stopped fighting the daily chores and the sleepless nights, my mind would awaken to the revelation that, YES! this is my moment.  Every day with my children and my husband.  The good, the bad, the pee all over the bathroom, they all lead me to me.

in summer

 Ah yes, it’s officially summer.  Both kids are home now and the craziness has begun.  I have to admit, underneath the layers of exhaustion, sweat, sand, and fingerpaint – we are having a ball.  It seems as though we’ve already established a summer day routine at our house.  We all wake up bright and early, around 6:30 am to be exact.  Every. Single. Day.  Like clockwork, my kids are up and at ‘em eager to rock and roll the day ahead.  I on the other hand, pray a little prayer every night for extra sleep-in time, but it never happens.  Needless to say, I’ve learned to embrace the wee hours of the morning.  We start our day with a nice breakfast together and before I know it I’m blowing up pool floats, endlessly re-strapping swimming goggles (what is up with those things?), and judging gymnastics contests.  Between water tables, sprinklers, and playing tag, my kids are all go, go, go.  They are on a mission and the number one task at hand is to play, play, play!  Not even bathing suit wedgies, blinding sand in the eyes, or pool water up the nose can stop them.  And it’s only 10:00 am.  Seriously, if our day ended at noon, the only thing my kids would be missing is the sunset.

There’s just something about summer-time that makes everything a bit better.  After all, the grass is finally greener, the smell in the air is sweeter, and spirits are freer.  Why would anyone complain?  Life is good.  And life is especially good in the summer.

It’s energy.  It’s beauty.  It’s pure joy.

It’s what you make it.

Don’t you agree?