This holiday season I've more often than not found myself in a frame of mind that is anything but joyful. Maybe it's the stress of work projects, the loss of Vegas, or my impending 40th birthday (a mere 7 days away) that's causing a big black cloud to form over my head. I've spent these last few weeks feeling rushed, stressed, sad and worried. And that's not how I want to spent the holidays. This is supposed to be a time of cheer and happiness...of anticipation and magic. I know that the joy is out there - somewhere - it just hasn't made its way to my heart (yet.) So I'm taking it upon myself to go find it. Because if there's anything I need right now, it's a little Christmas.
On Friday night Mike and I attended a Christmas party for the Denver office of his company, where he has spent much of the last year working. He went through quite a transition from his previous position in the field to a more corporate atmosphere in his new job, and the elegant and over-the-top Christmas party is just one reflection of that change. But as we mingled with the more than 450 guests, all dressed in sparkly holiday attire and sipping fancy libations, I was struck by how calm, confident, and charasmatic Mike was in the midst of all these successful and powerful people. I don't get to see him "in his element" at work very often, and watching him converse with his colleagues made me realize how good he is at what he does. I am so proud of him....and so thankful for his dedication and passion for his work. In him, I can find the joy of feeling secure and provided for, and most of all loved.
And in an entirely unrelated note, I pulled off a major feat by assembling an entire outfit - hosiery and all - without the aid of an internet poll.
While we were at the party, our kids stayed home with our awesome friends Callie and Tex, who undoubtedly deserve the title Best Babysitters In the Universe. Despite the fact that Callie had a p-chem final the next day, she still showed up with a bag full of crafts, stickers, and games for the kids. I had left them supplies to make gingerbread cookies, and within minutes of arriving, Callie was pulling out her laptop to show the kids photos of the Shakesperian Cookie Characters she had made for a class (and the scenes they acted out). Needless to say, the resulting gingerbread cookies included not only men, but mutant rabbits, Mario characters, and robo-reindeer. Hearing the kids chatter excitedly the next morning about the cookie baking and crafting time reminded me that sometimes, the joy is in the simple things.
Since our snowy and icy roof is preventing any (safe) installation of lights on the house, we spent some time this weekend decorating the front porch with wreathes and mini Christmas trees, and putting glowing candles in the windows. (No, no, not real ones...ones like these.) After returning from a dinner out on Saturday night, seeing the glow and twinkle of the lights as we pulled up the driveway was just a little magical. One of my favorite parts of Christmas as a child was to sit in the living room beneath the tree lights, and the sight of these lights brought me back to that place. So yes - sometimes the joy is the twinkle lights.
Sunday morning brought a favorite tradition - brunch with Santa! We've been for three years running now, and we love our Santa dearly (and the food is pretty dang yummy, too!) Hayden was stoked to get "dessert for breakfast" and happily chowed down on a sprinkle donut, while his sister was beyond excited about the chocolate fountain (and marshmallows for dipping.) Who could forget that sometimes the joy is in the sugary sweets.
And as they visited with Santa and revealed their Christmas wishes (a sled for Hayden; a cat stuffed animal for Riely) I made my own silent wish to Santa...that I would find the joy in the season, even if it took some seeking.
And after seeing this family photo with the big man himself, I can't help but find joy in this family, our blessings, and the love we share.
Here's to hoping we all find a little Christmas joy this season (even we have to hunt a little!),