Missing the Noise
It was loud and boisterous on a normal day when the kids lived at home. It seemed the house was in constant disarray. It felt as though I was always in a hurry. Hurry and get dressed. Get the boys ready. Get bathrooms cleaned, finish the laundry, pick-up the kids from school, get them to their after- school activities. Which reminds me. It seemed I was always going to the same places. Round and round I went, schools, piano lesson, boy scouts, soccer, grocery store, dentist, orthodontist. Get up the next day repeat. I used to joke, if I was going in a straight line I’d be somewhere.
Add the Holidays to the mix and life got even more loud and boisterous. With all the shopping, writing the holiday letter, decorating, wrapping gifts, baking, if you asked me what I wanted for Christmas the answer would have been, an afternoon to myself.
Now? Now it’s too quiet. I miss the boys and their friends running in and out, all the shoes piled by the front door, fingerprints on the walls. I especially miss the loud and boisterous Holidays.
A Mother-in-laws Perspective
Several years ago, my Mother-in-law, who raised a family of nine children, was visiting. It was a couple days before Christmas and our two boys were driving me a little crazy. I asked my Mother-in-law, “How did you do it?”
She was sitting calmly in the middle of the mess, noise, and bedlam that the boys were creating and looked at me with a quizzical look, “You know, I don’t remember having any problems.”
That was a fine thing to say to a daughter-in-law who couldn’t even manage two children. “What do you mean?” I shot back. “You raised my husband and I’ve heard the stories!
My Mother-in-law’s sly smile said someday you’ll understand, but she answered. “Well, dear, with time you only remember the good things.”
The Memories I Got
This time of year, especially, I know I was stressed and anxious trying to create the perfect Christmas for our family. I spent much of my time pursuing what I thought was the supposed to be the perfect holiday. but that is not what memories are made of and not the memories I recall. I remember how beautiful the presents looked under the tree, even after the dog destroyed all the ribbons. The anticipation on our children’s faces as they went from window to window on Christmas Eve. One looking for Santa. The other one seeing Superman flying across the sky. The joy, once Dad had the camera in place and our sons were finally allowed to run downstairs on Christmas morning.
What I Have Come to Appreciate
Memories are made of all the imperfect moments. The funny, silly, surprise moments that may have caused you all manner of stress at the time, but what we remember for a lifetime. My Mother-in-law understood. Time doesn’t erase the feelings. It just puts them into perspective. The feelings were and are normal. The memories are extraordinary! They remind us of the love that fills our hearts to overflowing. The joy we experience when our children and grandchildren come home for the holidays, and the wonderful exhaustion we feel when they leave.
Here’s to hoping your family gatherings are loud and boisterous. That you are exhausted afterwards, your recovery quick, and your memories filled with imperfect moments.