Life lately has been a whirlwind, to say the least.
I knew that these three short weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas were going to give us a run for our money. Just looking at the jam-packed calendar, elevated my stress levels a little.
And then, as life has a way of doing, some unexpected obstacles got tossed in for good measure.
But, I’m sitting here this Saturday morning, under a warm blanket, with my coffee in hand, looking at a tree that has not one single wrapped gift under it yet, and reminding myself to practice a little self-care.
Last weekend was the only weekend left before Christmas that my husband wasn’t scheduled to work, so we had planned to get up and go to breakfast, and knock out the rest of our shopping. Unfortunately, we woke up to an early morning phone call that my dad was in the ER. Obviously, we scrapped our plans for the day and headed straight to the hospital. He’s doing better now, and back at home thankfully, but because the majority of the week was spent with him in the ICU, we had to rethink our strategy.
It was a good reminder about what really matters in life. My dad stayed in the hospital from Saturday through Wednesday. When we were there with him, he kept saying, “You guys should go home. I’ll be okay. I know you all have stuff to do. You don’t have to be here with me.”
He was right, we didn’t have to be there. We wanted to be there. So, that long list of things I had planned to get done, got tossed by the wayside. Things that had seemed necessary, didn’t seem as important as before. Life has a way of altering your perspective.
There won’t be quite as many gifts under the tree this year.
The basement tree that doesn’t have any ornaments on it, might stay naked.
The fancy baking I had planned, so that I could deliver lovely goodies to our neighbors. probably won’t happen.
No Christmas cards got sent this year.
Instead of a fancy table and full-fledged Christmas dinner, we’ve decided to do charcuterie and appetizers when we celebrate Christmas with the “kids” this weekend.
And I’m fine with it.
Because even in the chaos of this stressful week, there were so, so many blessings and reminders of all the gifts that we’ve already been given.
Have you seen this quote before? It always makes me smile, because I’m a planner by nature. I like to know what’s coming next and develop a plan to tackle it. I make lists, and spreadsheets, and goals. Now don’t get me wrong, planning and preparing are good life skills, but it’s also important to remember that YOU aren’t in control of everything. And another really good life skill is being able to adapt, be flexible, and adjust to the hand you’re dealt.
It was a long week, with unexpected obstacles. But we made it. And when I look back at it now, I can more clearly focus on the blessings mixed into the stress.
I had originally planned to do some holiday baking last weekend, but since we were at the hospital, all the fancy baked goods I had planned to make got cut from “the list”. But when we got home from the hospital on Sunday evening, I decided that there was one baking item that I wasn’t willing to let get cut. So I turned on some Christmas music, opened a bottle of wine, and made my mom’s famous sugar cookies. It wouldn’t be Christmas without them. It was late by the time I got done and had the mess cleaned up, but having that batch of special cookies tucked in the freezer, ready to pull out for our Christmas celebrations made me feel better, even though I sacrificed rest to make it happen.
I was torn about going to work on Monday or going back to the hospital for the day, but my husband works in the ICU where my dad was, and he assured me that he’d be there right nearby all day to check on him. It was an especially busy week at work for me. I’m in a new position this year, and I was being formally evalauated by my administrator. I had groups of kids I was scheduled to work with all week, and if I wasn’t there, it would put a burden on the other teachers. So, with my husband’s assurance that he’d be with my dad, I went to work.
You guys, my husband is a true blessing. He has so many good qualities, but it’s times like this when I’m humbly reminded of what a gift he is. Even though his job is a busy and demanding one, he made regular checks on my dad for the next three work days until I could get there after school. He brought him a newspaper, he visited with him, he checked in with his doctors and sent me regular reports all day to make sure I wasn’t worried. All while still doing his own job. I don’t know what I’d do without him.
Even though the plans we had to celebrate my birthday on Monday had to be altered, my sweet husband made sure my birthday didn’t pass completely uncelebrated.
These beauties showed up at work.
Instead of the dinner out we had planned for Monday, we picked up a pizza from Centro on our way home from the hospital late that evening.
And my hubby brought me my gifts to open in bed, because we were so exhausted.
My dad got to go home on Wednesday, so I was able to still work in the cervical epidural that I had scheduled after work on Thursday to treat my chronic pain.
Because of my husband’s willingness to handle things at the hospital during the workday, I was able to meet with all my student groups and my evaluation went extremely well.
And I finished the week with a Christmas party with my new team of ELP teachers, whom I feel so blessed to be able to work with this year. Being part of a group of strong, dedicated and smart women is truly a blessing.
Today, I’m practicing some self-care. I feel like I may be coming down with a cold, so I’m going to stay in my pajamas and rest. I may tackle a few of the things on the “to-do” list, but I may not. We shall see.
Oh, and Santa drove by a few minutes ago, so that’s a good sign, right?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. —Jeremiah 29:11