Learning to slow it all down has been one of the greatest lessons to enter my life in recent years. I'm still working on it, of course, and always and forever will be. It's about knowing how much time our family needs together at home, and saying no to things that prevent us from that important time. Or for me personally, it's about being in a crowded airport, not knowing where to go or what to do, and realizing that I don't need to run at the same pace as everyone around me - on my own time, slowing it down, brings me more peace and calm, and I'll get there just the same. And when a weekend finds us with only pockets of time in which all eight of us are in the house together, well....we don't rush through getting something done quickly and all at once, but rather we fit it into those pockets of time. Spread out, thoughtfully, and slowly. That's how this year's tree decorating is shaping up, at least, and it feels delightful. After choosing a tree, it came into the house and sat bare for a day. The lights were added the following morning, ornaments later that night. Today, we'll make popcorn and cranberries, after dinner when we're all together in the living room again. It feels delightful, this pace this year, just what we need. In those slower moments, I'm able to see around me with so much more clarity, and notice the things I fear that I otherwise might just miss in a flurry of activity, a mind full of lists. The way that this year, my oldest is the tallest in the house and able to reach the angel on the tree, though he bends down to help his siblings do it. The capable and confident hands of my newly-minted seven year old as he threads the needle and makes his own ornament, little sister looking on with great interest. The wonder in her eyes as she looks at the magical tree in her house ("It's a tree in the house mom, isn't that SO COOL?"), as I remember every other one of them doing at the same age of four. The way, in all of these pockets of time there is holiday music playing in the background, a guitar or ukulele picked up here or there, singing from a few, the inevitable wrestling and pillows that end up always off the couch, the predictable teasing that happens amongst each other combined with a deep understanding of each other (hence the ability to tease so easily), a great amount of play, and a whole lot of laughter. This is our family right now, this holiday season. This is what I want to notice, hold onto, and make certain we have time for. The tree in the middle of our room, and the way it came to be, can now help serve as a reminder to me for the weeks to come, for this is what I want and need to hear: Slow it down. There is so much goodness right here, right now. Don't miss it.
Wishing you all a wonderful start to your week. May it be a slow one, in the best of ways.