Right now I am at my in-laws house. It’s just us and my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, and my brother-in-law. I am going to take a moment to take a deep breath before the rest of the guests come. And then I am going to take a moment before we leave at 8:30pm to attend another party.
For the next 24 hours, we will attend 4 parties. This is our annual Christmas family commitment. When the kids were little, these 24 hours pushed me over the edge. It was beyond stressful taking care of the kids and trying to get everything together with only my husband for help (which was really only to tend to the kids while I made, wrapped, and maintained traditions.
Over the last few years, I have “felt my five” in a whole different way at this time. They have made most of the gifts with my guidance. They wrapped all of the gifts except those meant for them. They baked and cooked for the parties. They even helped me put together an outfit tonight that didn’t include jogging pants or a hoodie.
But I know that there will be stresses nevertheless. A big family always means that inevitable drama will unfold. The same issues always come out of the woodwork over the next 24 hours. But tonight I will remember to come to each conversation and each encounter without carrying past grievances or assumptions.
Right now, I am making the intention to listen with a big heart and will give some loving thought to both my questions and my answers because this opportunity only happens once a year.