Writing in the Now

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My twins celebrate an October birthday while my oldest lights her birthday candles in January. In my family, these birthdays bookend the holidays. When Cupcake and Chunk open their presents, it’s almost as if it’s really time to open the holiday season, starting with Halloween with Thanksgiving on its heels and then Christmas followed by New Year’s Day before Kath blows out her candles and the holidays begin to wind down.

With those holidays come a rush of questions: “Are you dressing up for Halloween,” “Who’s house are we going to this year and who’s making the pie,” “Did you get what you wanted for Christmas,” “Are you going to make a New Year’s resolution,” and “Are you choosing one word for the upcoming year?” For the record, my answers are probably not; (insert groan) my house and if it’s edible, it better not be me; we’ll see; no; and no.

Don’t get me wrong. I love holidays. I love spending time with my husband and four kids, and there’s nothing like family togetherness to help me appreciate my writing that much more. However, I’m not into New Year’s resolutions. I think they focus on a date rather than the intent.

I just did a Google search of most common resolutions. Want to get exercise more? Why wait until January 1st when October 27th is a much better time to start. Want to make a more deliberate approach to becoming healthy? Make that doctor appointment now, not on January 1st. Want to write a book? If you can write during the holiday season with its parties, commitments, school concerts, family gatherings, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and more, you’re determined to write and the rest of the year should be a breeze.

My grandfather loved the expression, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Yes, it’s more of a cliché now than it was in the eighties when he said that all the time. But… There’s a truth in that statement. Today is the day to start writing a book if you want to write. Today is the day to call a local craft store if you’ve always wanted to knit or quilt. Today is the day to find out what exercise is the best for you.

Don’t wait until January 1 to make a resolution. If there’s a change you want to make in your life, make it today. If you can stick to that change over the holiday season, then you’ll thank yourself for it in 2019.

And please leave a comment. If you do make resolutions, let me know what you’re thinking about doing differently next year. And if you have a good pie recipe, feel free to share that, too!

Family Fridays: “What I Really Want For Christmas is…”

stock-photo-close-up-of-fresh-slices-of-red-watermelon-112684349   When you think you have them all figured out, kids can up and surprise you sometimes. Take Christmas. One of my favorite Christmas specials is “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” I love the Charlie Brown tree, especially when Charlie Brown says, “Aargh, I’ve killed it.” I love the kids dancing, especially the twins (this year Cupcake and Chunk danced like the twins in the video and I cracked up). The whole special is well, pretty special, the way it blends awareness of the commercial aspect of the holiday with the resonating delivery of the religious aspect of it as well.

As a mother, I always start worrying in October what my kids’ lists are going to resemble. Will it look more like our weekly grocery list with item after item after item? Will it be full of unrealistic expectations like a fleet of real airplanes and a yacht?

This year, I’ve received Christmas lists from three of my four children. Kath has asked for a WebKinz and a few surprises. Cupcake has the longest list, but it’s pretty reasonable. Haven’t received MJ’s list yet. Chunk is the one who was the inspiration for this post. Along with a dump truck and some chalk, he wants a watermelon and donuts from Santa. Especially the watermelon.

Chunk told me that he’s willing to share the watermelon. He gets the first piece. I get the second. His twin Cupcake gets the third piece. MJ, his brother, gets the fourth piece. His Daddy gets the fifth piece while his oldest sister Kath gets the sixth piece.

Chunk’s reminded me that sometimes the simplest things that we can share are the most special. It’s time together with the family this year that means so much. It’s sharing special gifts with those we love that can bring the best memories, ones we talk about years later.

When I was in eighth grade, my family didn’t have much money, but I wanted a record player stereo more than anything. I knew we didn’t have the money for it, but I dreamed of hours of listening to music on it. Early Christmas morning, my mom walked me into my grandfather’s bedroom and sitting there was the record player stereo. She worked overtime to make it happen. That memory returned to me as my kids surprised me by not asking for super expensive items. It turns out I was the one who expected and received something expensive and I projected myself onto my kids.

Christmas morning hasn’t come and gone yet so I don’t know if Santa will bring Chunk his watermelon yet, but I do have a feeling I’ll be eating watermelon on Christmas Day and loving it.

What’s the most unusual thing your child wants this Christmas? Let me know if it brings as much laughter to you as Chunk’s request for a watermelon.

 

Wacky Weekend: It’s a Wonderful Life

beautiful_christmas_tree_3_hd_pictures_170699Growing up, I always imagined of the elegant Christmas tree that would stand majestically in my living room. It would have matching ornaments and maybe red bows. The real and not artificial tree would create a lovely ambience, down to the wonderful pine smell that would enhance my sophisticated living room.

Fast forward to my life now. My family, all six of us, decorated our Christmas tree this week. Taking four children to pick out a Christmas tree is a tradition with us, but one that might be wearing on their nerves. They wanted the first tree that we held upright. Wonderful hubby and I made them look at four before we all agreed on one. We brought it home and decorated it that night. Before I married my wonderful hubby, I worried about how I would ever have enough decorations to fill a tree. Now we have two boxes full of decorations either made by one of the four children or purchased on our summer trips. To say our tree is eclectic is an understatement. There’s an ornament with Santa in a bathing suit (that got the biggest chuckle from Cupcake when she saw it) next to ornaments handed down from my husband’s great aunt. There  are handprint pillows next to Scooby-Doo ornaments. 

It’s a long way from the elegant tree I envisioned I would have. I think of George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life when he gets a chance to see what his life had been like if he’d never been born. Instead I think about my life if I’d never met my wonderful hubby. I’ll take the eclectic tree with the myriad of mismatched ornaments, each with a memory behind it, rather than the imagined elegant tree of my youth. He’s worth it.

How is your life different from how you envisioned it as a teenager? I hope that you’re like me and real life is a whole lot better.