“Learn to be thankful for what you already have while you pursue all that you want.” ~ Jim Rohn
The holiday season is upon us and as the businesses around us prepare to take a break for this annual period of rest, it makes sense that the weekly women@work feature takes a little Christmas break too to be replaced by some season-appropriate thoughts about “being”.
Christmas was my mother’s favourite time of the year. She went to great lengths to make it special. If she couldn’t find a male colleague to do it for her (she was a single mum and sometimes got tired of being a feminist), we would go out and ceremoniously chop down our own disproportionately large tree and bring it home. This would be followed by the immense excitement that was dusting off the decorations box and decorating the tree. Finally, and perhaps most exciting, the Christmas lights would be switched on. To say it was magical would be an absolute understatement.
Santa didn’t really come to Chipinge. Just as well, because we had no chimney. How on earth would he get in? Instead, mum would buy each of us something special and we would find our Christmas gift in bed with us when we opened our eyes on Christmas morning. Try as I did, I could never stay up long enough to catch her in the act. Even remembering it now puts a big smile on my face.
I am eternally grateful to my mum for making all that effort and leaving us with special memories of the holiday season. It makes me wonder what I am going to do for my own child(ren) and it inspires me to try and make sure that they have their very own child-like wonder to look back on when they are in their 30s like me. I suppose this is a convoluted way to say I must figure out what my family’s Christmas traditions will be.
“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~ Robert Brault
Christmas to me also means a season of reflection and thanksgiving. A time to look back on the year and appreciate it for every little thing it was and wasn’t. 2018 was ‘a lot.’ In some moments it felt like the days were ticking over a little too slowly… an incessantly screaming 1 month old will do that to you :). But watching that little human smile for the first time, roll over for the first time, sit up for the first time, crawl, laugh, hug you, kiss you (very sloppily), and call you mama… man, those moments came and went like magical lightning. Then there were those moments when he fell… really hard, or bit my nipple so hard I was sure I would see blood and our first and only (touch wood) visit to the ER. In those moments it felt like the time hardly moved at all.
Somehow, while all that was happening, it was suddenly December and the eve of my boy’s 1st birthday. All those little moments came together to make a defining year. What a thing! I am grateful for the gift of parenthood. There is nothing quite like this journey in its wonder and pain and I am deeply and truly grateful for the gift of experiencing all of it.
“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.” ~ Alphonse Karr
The year was also full of challenges. I struggled to hold onto my individual identity. I had only just found my sea legs in my marital journey and a baby changed the game entirely. I also genuinely struggled to find my new self at work. A career girl with a baby is a whole new person but she must play the old game. I had to learn the hard way that I can’t be all that I was before the baby in the exact same way. I can still be all that I was but I needed a paradigm shift first. I needed to embrace my shift in priorities and then find ways to work around them. I needed to do things like swapping efficiency for long hours unless strictly necessary.
I also had to learn the hard way that I must factor in time to look after myself. Being run down led to a 2-week illness that meant that I could do next to nothing for my baby or anyone else for that matter. It taught me to let others participate in this journey with me, to ask for help and to take time to ensure that I am well in mind, body, and spirit. The price of not doing so is just too high.
What a year and what a journey. Even after so much has transpired, this is only just the beginning. Imagine that. As the year draws to a close I can only say that like Piglet, I have noticed that even though I have a Very Small Heart, it can and does hold a rather large amount of Gratitude (Winnie-the-Pooh).