“I have found that it’s not WHAT I have in my life but WHO I have in my life that counts.” ~ Author Unknown
We have reached that time of year when I feel as though I’m at the top of a roller coaster, the very highest peak, after a long, steady climb. As I peer over the edge I see an impossibly steep descent and before I know it, momentum will drop me over the summit, sending me screaming down the declivitous path.
I have never been on a roller coaster. It’s mostly the height that keeps me off them. And the stomach upset. And the speed and sharp turns. We raised four kids. Been there, done that.
But just realizing that we’ve officially entered into the “Holiday Season” quickens my pulse and robs me of sleep. My “to do” list spills over while my bank account dries up. All the shopping and shipping; the cooking and cleaning; the detangling of Christmas lights and adornment of the tree. My brain works overtime but my body wants a stay-cation. So I say to myself, “Why?” What is it that makes the holiday frenzy worth it? That’s easy. It’s the people. Especially the little people with runny noses and slobbery kisses.
We just celebrated Thanksgiving with our four children and their families. Three days of noisy chaos and commotion. There were spills and glitches; we had tears and stitches. But most of all we shared memories and laughter and the kind of love that springs from a family that melds well in small spaces. We talked to the grandkids about their Christmas lists and received responses worth sharing.
Porter is nearly seven and in first grade. He wants camouflage slippers and C-H-A-P-T-E-R B-O-O-K-S. And that’s exactly how he said it to me. He spelled out “chapter books.” He obviously feels I have a learning disability.
His brother Boone is 4 and wants anything that makes noise or could be considered dangerous, which leaves the field wide open since Boone can cause a ruckus with a banana. And their baby sister Greer needs anything girlie. Dresses, and bows and tutus and froufrous. A deceptive ruse because at 9 months old she is already showing signs of being as rough and tumble as her brothers.
Then there’s our granddaughter Clara. She arrived at Thanksgiving on the “Struggle Bus” according to her mother. She was prone to tantrums and upset typical of her two-year-old status, but with a frequency that defied the norm. She likes dolls and dress-up; purses and shoes. And her independence in large doses.
Penn is 4 and had a collision with some playground equipment that resulted in an emergency room visit and four stitches. He handled it bravely and wanted no attention drawn to his black and swollen eye. Penn loves Legos. He builds, creates and demonstrates with the colorful little blocks and can remain quietly entertained for long periods of time.
Penn’s little sister, Lola is only 8 weeks old. She needs to be held and cuddled; gazed at and lightly squeezed. I have this one covered. Maybe to the point of selfishness, but that’s an earned privilege that comes with the title “grandma.”
And finally there’s Howie. Howie is 2 and the exact replica of his daddy, our son. Howie loves tractors. He wears a tractor stocking hat, he watches tractor videos. He carries tractors to bed, and his favorite word is “tractor.” Ask him what he wants for Christmas and each time he will say, “tractor, combine, Christmas combine,” In that order, every time. His family was talking about puppies one night. Howie’s parents asked hypothetically what the kids would name a dog if they had one. Howie’s answer, “Tractor-pup.”
So, I’m going to go shopping for Legos and books. For dresses and for tractors; and I’ll take long, gazing looks at the babies and children we are blessed with this year. And I’ll gladly participate in the holiday cheer.
I’ll cook. I’ll bake. I’ll clean and I’ll shop. And I’ll ride the roller coaster until the final stop. I’ll do it with my hands in the air, and a smile on my face. An occasional scream may erupt, and then I’ll find a quiet place.
When this holiday season is over; when the Christmas lights are again stored, I will step off the roller coaster, and risk getting bored. But between now and then, I look forward to sharing time with my family. I hope you do too.
Laurie Kasperbauer, RYT 200, enjoys the spiritual and physical benefits of yoga practice and instructs both group and private classes. Laurie is also an active Florida realtor specializing in properties in Naples and Marco Island. She can be reached at Harborview Realty, 291 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island, or by calling 712-210-3853.