I have a hero.
My daughter. My girl, now grown up with three kids of her own, is amazing. She herself has MS but in addition to running a Cracker Jack household she also studies, does research, and works full-time as a paediatric oncology coordinator. If your child has been diagnosed with cancer she’s the person who sits down and says “OK this is what we are going to do together.” I have heard her on the phone taking after hours calls from parents. I don’t know how my little girl does it.
She is wonderful.
She is also wise.
One of the things my daughter has taught me is the concept of meeting people where they are. Not deciding for them, or laying on your own expectations, but understanding where they are in life and going there to relate to them.
I have used this approach a lot lately and it has occurred to me that it has a special place at Christmas.
What other time of the year is so heavy with expectations, hopes, memories, and sometimes subsequent disappointments?
Here’s the thing.
Right now I am in Texas, a long way from Nova Scotia, going to see one of my sons for the holidays. Being here reminds me of how much Christmas, the lights, wreaths, decorations etc. are amplified in a northern country. Christmas where I come from, is a signal that the long, cold, dark and snowy and often hard winter is about to start. This makes the lights and brights of Christmas for us such a huge deal.
It doesn’t look quite like this house in Halifax here:
So this year, one when my son and his girlfriend will be hosting not one but two mothers who have never met, he has decided to order in Chinese food, to keep it chill. Not ask the mothers to make the old family favourites, which is the point, and one I get because I am. of course, totally chill myself.
Also because I have been travelling I have not done my usual make it myself Christmas, where I produce all my gifts. In fact when I told my two boys down here I could sew or knit anything they wanted, they said, gee thanks don’t need anything. The guys have better taste than I do and we all know that.
So this Christmas is going to be about what really matters, being with the people who do, on their terms, which, as families are meant to evolve, is about time.
However …. the Chinese food eating son did admire some decorations I made for his brother’s tree in Berkeley, so I made some of those on the ride here for him too:
They’re not perfect, but then again neither is the person who made them. I am going to buy a big cactus and hang them from it. What do you think?
Have yourself a Merry Christmas,