The Present


Our Christmas card photo shoots usually involve pleas, bribes and tears on the part of all involved. This year was no exception. But, just when the adults were ready to throw in the towel, the girls start striking poses and cheesing for the camera.

I have to admit that I usually find this process more frustrating than fun. But, this year, I found that I was actually missing the moment as it was happening.

Now, I don’t mean missing as in “I was thinking about what to watch on Netflix tonight and was distracted” sense of the word. No, it was a yearning to hold on as tight as a could to this particular moment, because I was fully aware that things would never be exactly the same way again.

This season of life (not just the holidays, but all of it) is many things–happy, fun, tiring, overwhelming, busy, anxiety inducing, full of endless to-do lists. Sometimes, I struggle to be present. I’m usually going at 100 miles an hour and when I do get a moment to stop and think, it’s usually spent dwelling on things that have already happened and can’t be changed and/or the things that may or may not happen in the future (usually of the worst-case scenario variety).

But, there are some moments that catch me by surprise and keep me fully grounded in the here and now, appreciating what’s right in front of me.

Right now, it’s the off-key renditions of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The lopsided gingerbread houses. The letters to Santa that ask for trips to Dunkin’ Donuts and creepy teddy bears. The oohing and ahhing over the inflatable lawn decorations in our neighborhood. Tiny hands reaching into the mixing bowl (when they think I can’t see them) to scoop up the brown sugar before it becomes part of the cookie dough.

I’m taking it all in. Because eventually my babies are all grown up, I want to remember them just as they were in this photo–five and two years old, their faces bathed in the twinkling lights from the tree as they giggled uncontrollably.

And that’s the best present ever.

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