Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas is a Whisper

A Whirlwind.
That's Christmas.

Turmoil and anxiety swirling internally while I rush to and fro trying to accomplish in very little time what's deemed necessary for the holidays.

Tree up. Decorate it, lights first. Not like that, spread the ornaments around; mix up the colors. Try to show helping hands how to do it, but apparently everyone is colorblind. Whatever; determine to fix it later. Where did that blasted star get stored? Check in ten different boxes and then settle on an angel topper. 'But, Mom, we used the angel last year and the year before that!'

Deal with it.

Online shopping--because it's easier.
Have the gifts shipped to your door, right?  
Why is our cursed internet so slow?  
Out of stock--ugh. Only the sizes I don't need, of course. Click, click, click--tick tock, tick tock. Oh, oh, wait a minute--great prices here! Yes, my shopping cart is full at last! Check out with VISA--charge it all and worry about the bill later.

'What the criminy? HOW MUCH IS SHIPPING?!!!'

Search the internet for a free shipping code; find none. Try twenty discount codes--all denied. First-time shopper code--invalid. Invalid? Really? Did our house elf shop at this site when I wasn't looking? Feel a serious headache coming on. So much time wasted surfing the net inserting useless codes. Fine; just forget it. Empty out half of shopping cart and swallow the exorbitant shipping rates. Determine to finish my Christmas shopping in town--later.

Don't forget the baking! Sugar cookies, gingerbread, chocolate want brownies and fudge? Gain 10 pounds just mixing the dough. Bake, clean, bake, clean, bake, clean, clean, clean--I'll clean up the rest later.  

Make up plates to deliver to friends. Run from one side of town to the other--'Merry Christmas! No, sorry, no time to sit and talk. More deliveries to make.' Nearly done! 'Hey, Mom, what about so-and-so? We didn't give them any cookies!' Dang it. I forgot so-and-so. Hurry home. Find a paper plate--extra cookies, but no more red candy kisses (so what). Good enough--deliver--done!

Exhausted. Whirlwind intensifies. Still have shopping to finish--later.

Just smile one time for this photo. Please? Yes, you have to wear the Santa hat. For the Christmas card. 

Because I said so, alright! Now smile!
Good enough--not really (kids look like angry little elves with evil grins) but patience has left the building (mine and theirs) so good enough.

Sign a hundred Christmas cards.  

Lick a hundred stamps.  
Hand cramps up. Tongue numb. Christmas shopping to finish--later.

'Mom, you didn't put up any mistletoe.'  
'I know.'
'Mom, you didn't get out the countdown to Christmas chart.'  
'I know.'
'Mom, you haven't watched Scrooge with me yet.'  
'I know.'
'Mom, you didn't make my hot chocolate yet.'  
'I know.'
'Mom, how many days until Santa comes?'  
'I don't know.'
'Mom, I have a Christmas Concert tomorrow at school.'  
'Eeek! I forgot about that.'
'Yeah, Mom, I have one too for band next week.'  
'Crap. Forgot about that too.'
'Yeah, Mom, and we have to sell Christmas trees to go to camp.'
'Yeah, Mom, and I have to bring brownies to school tomorrow for a party.'
'Yeah, Mom, and I wanted to make that Christmas wreath, remember?'
'Yeah, Mom, and I have to go caroling with our group....'
'Mom, did you find that 'Countdown to Christmas' yet?'
'The company Christmas party is next Friday; don't forget.'

Whirlwind escalates. I still have to finish Christmas shopping---later.

Time stretches thinner to allow for attending Christmas concerts and parties and tree sales and to finally dig through storage boxes for that begged-after, must-have, young-lives-will-be-ruined-otherwise 'Countdown to Christmas' chart. 'Thanks, Mom!'

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock...
'Twelve days to Christmas, Mom!'
'Seven days to Christmas, Mom!'
'Five days to Christmas, Mom!'

The whirlwind picks up internally; anxiety levels spike--I seriously need to finish my shopping!  

Make a list and run to the store between work and piling events.  

Hide away in a room to wrap gifts.  

Wrapping, wrapping, wrapping--'Mom, where are you?'  
Ignore the question; hope it goes away; wrapping, wrapping, wrapping--'Mo~o~om, where are you?'
Sigh and answer, 'I'm in my room. I'm busy.'  
Young mouths press up to the door--'Mom, we need.... Mom, we want....'
Ignore their demands to wrap a little more, a little faster. 'Mom, can we come in?'
Door knob twists and jiggles. Throw blanket over exposed gifts. 'No, no, no! Stay out!'
Return to wrapping--frantically. Whining now begins, traveling through the locked door. 'Mo~o~om, we're starving...'
Might as well give up. This means wrapping all night Christmas Eve, but who needs sleep?

'Two days to Christmas, Mom!'
Grumble under my breath. No time, no fun. The whirlwind inside feels awful.

Dinner, dishes done. Everyone in bed. Lights out. So much left to do but too exhausted. Still have last-minute items to finish shopping for--later.

I plop down on the sofa in the dark, but it's not entirely dark; Christmas lights blink soundlessly, on and off and on again, in repeated patterns on the tree. It's beautiful. I stare at it, mesmerized.  

The silence is astounding--therapeutic even--and internally the whirlwind eases a degree, melting like magic. My breathing slows as colors dance on the tree, consoling me. Sinking into the sofa I wonder at this strange feeling of calmness that seems to invade my being, seeping in from the top of my head to slowly travel in warm tingles throughout my body. It makes me smile.  

How sweet the silence that needs no straining ear to hear. How perfect it is, like a whisper that only my soul can distinguish--'It's alright. It's alright.' This gentle spirit settles into my heart and I wish for it to never leave. This is what I've been missing--too caught up in the whirlwind society declares Christmas to be; my own thoughts too loud to hear this beautiful, small voice that brings such comfort to my soul. The Christmas spirit doesn't rush. It doesn't shout.

I joy in this rare moment of quiet stillness. I hear and believe....

A Whisper.
That's Christmas.

"Christmas is a whisper of peace and a sigh of hope on the lips of love."
 ~ Richelle E. Goodrich

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