Saturday, December 14, 2013

Shame on you, Santa

We've had a really nice holiday season so far this year.  Although Nathan has had to work most weeknights until after we are all in bed, he is still home more than he was last year when he worked on a holiday show up on campus.  We have felt thankful to enjoy our favorite time of year together again.

Today, we went to Pearl Street to visit Santa (at long last!).  The kids patiently waited in line to see him and were both able to muster the courage (actually Owen didn't have to muster at all--he was at the ready) to sit on his lap and tell him what they'd planned to tell him.  Owen told him he would like "a pig that moves under the tree and a surprise in his stocking" and Zoe "a ukelele and a book that teaches how to play it".
Almost there!

Zoe had to watch Owen chat with him for a bit before she felt comfortable
After we left, Owen told Nathan he thinks Santa is a really nice guy but that "his breath smelled bad".  To add insult to injury, Santa had asked the obviously NOT pregnant mom in front of us if she was expecting another baby and then, after she said no, told her it "must be left over from the last one" (AAAHHH!!).  He clearly felt bad but dealt with his discomfort by trying to find something to say that would  make it better so went on to awkwardly spew stupid nonsensical statements like "they used to give us a stethoscope.."(??) ..listen, as someone this happens to quite frequently, let me give you a little hint: if you happen to make the same mistake Santa did today, please know there is nothing you can do to take it back once the words have passed your  lips.  The only thing the woman wants is for you to go away.  If you can't go away immediately after giving a very simple apology, then please just SHUT THE HELL UP.  The damage is done and you can't take it back.  It may take awhile for the woman to get over hearing the words come out of your mouth while looking her straight in the face.  Add to that having to deal with answering your question without punching you in the face and just realize you should stop bringing attention to it and say no more words. At all.

As that family left, I gave the mom's arm a squeeze and told her it happens to me all the time but never from freaking SANTA.  She was obviously pissed at him but kept it in for the sake of her (and all of ours actually) kids.  When we got home, I couldn't help but wish I had said something in the moment.  Nothing nasty or confrontational but I wish, when it became clear he was trying to "fix" his mistake, that I would have said "Okay, move on" or something but I guess in the end that would have made it worse too.  *sigh*

Anyway, when we got home Owen and I finished up the gifts he is giving his preschool teachers.  For some reason, thinking up teacher gifts terrifies me.  I usually end up doing something lame because I can't think of anything good.  It's partly because we are already spending a ton of money when we literally have none (actually we technically have negative dollars) and spending more on several people is very stressful.  Don't get me wrong, the work our teachers do is worth way more money than they get paid and if I was able to, I would give them mountains of cash but...well, you know what I mean. So stressful!  Somehow though, this thought popped into my head this year to make homemade brownie mix with Owen for them and I think they are going to love it (his teachers love anything and everything we and the kids are able to do, but you know).
I wanted to put them in jars but the ones we have on hand weren't big enough.  Instead, I wrote the instructions on one side of a ziplock bag and had Owen draw a picture on the other side.  After we filled the bags, I rolled them up and tied them with ribbon.  They honestly don't look very nice (there's a reason I'm not sharing a photo of the finished product) but I think the teachers will appreciate the work Owen put into them.

He helped fill the bags...
..and did the shakin'!
Then this evening, we were treated to yet another lovely community event at Zoe's school, BCSIS (Boulder Community School of Integrated Studies), a Waldorf inspired school.  One of the many reasons we love the school is it's reverence for nature.  Over the last few years we have enjoyed including winter solstice celebrations in our holiday traditions and BCSIS's community events fit right in with these new traditions of ours.

This evening's event was called "Spiral Garden", and is intended "to illuminate our inner light and radiate it outward into the world"...yeah, I so wish we had more than one year at this school...
The room was quiet, and as we entered, the kids sat around the advent spiral while the parents took seats behind them.

A story/shadow puppet show about a journey towards finding inner light and sharing it

As a musician played beautifully on her harp, each child got to take their own journey through the advent spiral to the middle, where they chose a crystal out of a bowl on the table.  As you can see, siblings were welcome to join!

I'm getting better at this, but I sure wish I knew when to stop trying to get a good picture and just enjoy the moment.  Our kids were done with their journey and I realized I hadn't really watched them.  Another parent whispered "they were so cute!" to me, and I felt so sad I hadn't seen what she had.

Nathan and I quietly laughed when Zoe's buddies got up for their turn and she loudly whispered "GOOD LUCK!!!"

This table was at the entrance of the school.  Just lovely!

Hope you are all able to enjoy this time of year in the way you and your family like to--happy season!

Thursday, December 5, 2013


"Forgiving is not about forgetting, it's letting go of the hurt." ~ Mary McLeod Bethune

"Forgiveness... is a willingness to get over what you think should have happened and an acceptance of the reality of what actually happened."  ~  Rhonda Britten

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."  ~  Lewis B. Smedes

I've lately been thinking a lot on forgiveness.  The concept has always eluded me, allowing me to understand in fits and starts but never completely.  I don't consider myself a person prone to holding a grudge. I find it easy to give people the benefit of the doubt, but most of the people in my life are pretty good at apologizing.  We all make mistakes and giving people room to be imperfect is important to me, not only because it's the right thing to do but because I hope people will do the same for me. 

For a long time now though, I've had someone in my life I could not seem to forgive.  The relationship has gone through many stages and there have been times when I've thought I'd managed to forgive only to prove myself wrong over and over again.  I told myself I was detached but could feel anger and resentment bubbling at my core under thick layers of  feigned disinterest.  I've mulled it over for years and have come to the conclusion that although the situation is muddled, I've mostly been waiting for a humble apology.  If only I could hear the words "I'm sorry" I could let it all go...

...but those words have never come...and never will come.  I've known this to be true all along and have let it feed my anger, in part, because the picture I have of myself includes this anger.  The emotion has been there so long, it's intricately weaved into my very being. Much like the way I thought about cigarettes in the years I spent trying to quit before I was actually able to: "If I'm not a smoker, than who am I?". The fear of letting go of deep seeded emotion is the same: "If I'm not angry, then what am I?"..."Does that mean what happened was okay?"..."That I don't care anymore?"..."That I've been wrong all this time?"

Finally.  FINALLY.  I get it.  I'm not sure what happened but it has again reminded me of when I gave up smoking once and for all.  I just...did. I stopped.  I knew I had to do it and have not had a single puff since (or been tempted to).  Circumstances had not changed dramatically at the time and I still can't explain why, after many attempts and failures, I was able to take charge but I don't feel compelled to find the reason.  The important thing is that I did it.  I gave it up. I don't let myself forget that at any moment I could be surprised by the urge to smoke, no matter how far removed I am from it, so always have my guard up but smoking is most definitely not a part of my life anymore.  8 or 9 years later, I still feel the freedom of my choice to quit.  I feel grateful every time I smell a cigarette or see people huddled in a cold corner outside the grocery store, feeding their addiction, that cigarettes no longer rule my life.

I realize I just took my first few steps down this new path of forgiveness and that at any moment, I could be surprised by my anger but I feel hopeful.  I know now that I am capable of letting go of the past while not forgetting it.  That I can stop waiting for an apology and find happiness in the relationship.  That forgiving does not mean excusing but accepting.  That I can live in the moment honestly without getting the closure I've been waiting for.  I'm grateful for this not only because it's the right thing to do but because I know being free of the weight of resentment allows me to soar higher than I ever thought I could. Thank goodness for that.