A Weekend Filled w Everything

December 9, 2009

It is Wednesday and I am just now recovering after a long weekend of doing nothing.  And while on the surface that sounds delightful, the reality of “doing nothing” when you are a working mother of 2 with a new house to unpack  a mere 3 weeks before Christmas can only mean one thing:  The flu.

Anyone with children can relate to this little known fact of life:  children’s illness is typically timed to coincide with a busy deadline at work, weekend plans or a vacation.

Though I didn’t have major weekend plans or a fancy vacation to escape to (Maui, how I miss you…) I had plenty of work to do around my house, the office and the tree (still sitting there unadorned but looking oh so fabulous in all of its gold sparkly splendor…keep checking back for pics).   So while there is no greater pleasure than lazily spending time at home with my family, a weekend of doing nothing in the cold Midwest less than a month before Christmas has me woefully stressed out.

But I know that I’m not alone.  Gifts, parties, menus and decorations seem to consume everyone’s thoughts this time of year.  Personally, the countdown of days left to complete billing before the calendar reads 2-0-1-0 is beginning to take its toll.  And yet, I spent a weekend doing nothing.  Don’t get me wrong, stranded in the house I had ample opportunity to peruse the internet in search of interesting interiors and unique furniture.  (Find both here – kudos Michael.) I had plenty of time to throw in some extra loads of laundry or arrange some ornaments on our tree.  And while I did a little bit of that here and there (check for my laundry room post to follow later this week) the most gratifying part of my weekend was choosing to do nothing. No punch-lists for the contractors, no Christmas decorations, no gift buying.  Maybe a nap.

There was, however, one event, one incident, one thing that catapulted my weekend from insignificant to important, empty to full.  One something reminded me just why I do this.  Why I am a mom, married to a man, living in the suburbs.  And why I will choose that role above all others.  Every time.

I’ll set the scene:  It’s too cold to venture outside; ordering a pizza and eating from the box sounds divine; you’ve spent a rather unproductive weekend indoors and rather inexplicably, you’re exhausted and can’t wait for the clock to tell you it’s time to put the kids to bed and lazily lounge on the sofa watching Bravo before turning in for the evening.  The kids bring up a game of “Guess Who” and before you could say, “maybe tomorrow”, they’ve set up the board and determined teams – boys against girls – and you’ve decided to appease them and play one game to get them to go to bed.

And then this happens:  We sit on the floor together.  We dim the lights, and Nigel leans on Cory.  Olivija sits next to me and whispers her questions in my ear.  Loudly, hot and breathy, the way only kids can.  We take turns and then we swap teams.  Olivija laughs uncontrollably when Cory guesses that she is “Joseph”; Nigel sounds so big when he asks me “does your person have facial hair?”. Typically impatient Cory will patiently help Nigel adjust all of the pieces on his game board – for what feels like the hundredth time.  We will let them play game after game, long past bedtime.   And we will all laugh – at things that aren’t really all that funny.

And then it happens:  It occurs to us just how much these kids need us.  It occurs to us that they don’t need this house or the stuff that fills it.  They don’t care about vacations, beautiful furniture, cool clothes or good lighting.  They want to play “Guess Who” and eat ice cream before bed.  With us.  And it is our job to teach them to take turns and to share; to laugh and to play fair; and to let them know that we will always be there to sit with on the floor.  We never discuss it.  We both just know.  This is our family, these are our moments and this is our story.  When it comes down to it, it’s really all we’ve got.  And probably all we’ll ever need.

A weekend filled with nothing more than playing a board game in front of a barely decorated Christmas tree reminded me that I have all I could ever need for the holidays and beyond.  And it also reminded me that I really do need to get around to decorating that tree.

So what is your preference in holiday décor?  Do you go all out traditional, modern or somewhere safely in between?  See tomorrow’s This vs. That


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