This was not our Christmas card. We already mailed cards before this little painting came about. But I wish we had used this, because it’s cute and it reminds me of a special moment with my boys.
We’re currently taking the longest holiday break ever. It wasn’t planned but two weeks ago the boys started passing one illness after another back and forth like hot potato. One or both of them has been home from school every day since. Officially making a two week holiday break more like four weeks by the time they go back to the school in the new year.
One day we snuggled up in bed to watch a movie and I played with a new-to-me iPad app, Paper by Fifty Three. I’ve always loved drawing, even though I am not good at it and can’t ever think of what to draw.
I’m positive the question I asked my dad most frequently as a kid was, “Dad, what should I draw?” It’s super frustrating to stare at a blank page eager to draw without a clue what to draw. Dad always answered, “A firetruck.”
Anyway that day I asked my boys what to draw and in unison they said, “me”. I scribbled on my iPad until I had something that resembled both boys and our two fur babies, Sofia and Ryder. The boys sat over my shoulder and watched the whole time to see every line unfold and took great delight in giving me color suggestions.
A few days later they wanted me to draw again. This time I duplicated my original and gave it some holiday flare—I told them I was Christmas-ifying their picture. Again they were delighted to watch me doodle.
These pre-holiday sick days and sweet doodling moments brought me full circle to my word of the year—relish. I started out the year with one goal; to relish the small moments. Relish in the sweet, the unplanned and unexpected, the good stuff of life.
To be fair, I am horrible at relishing. As a recovering perfectionist and over(anxious)-planner, it’s hard for me to be in the moment. To simply be and enjoy. My brain is always working a few steps ahead.
The word relish alone wasn’t enough to remind me to stop and soak it in every once and a while, so I had a quote to keep me on track.
The only person you have to be better than is the person you were yesterday. – Unknown
This quote could be interpreted to mean don’t worry about the competition, the only one you’re competing against is yourself, or keep your eyes on your own paper. I believe in all of those, but I took it a little differently…
It reminds me of something a health coach told me about meditating. Which I told her I tried, but couldn’t get into. Well, when you first start meditating it’s hard to focus. And many people give up. She told me not to judge myself on how well I meditated, but to celebrate trying. Because the trick is to just keep trying. Little by little your focus improves and you can focus longer and longer.
To me being better than the person you were yesterday is continuing to try and little by little getting better. So this year, little by little I’ve been trying to relish.
My big test was when both boys were home for 12-weeks straight this summer, no camps or daycare. Meanwhile I took on my biggest project to-date to build and launch an online school. There were many times I felt my work jeopardizing how present I was with the boys. Each day I tried to be a little better. Waking early in the morning to relish in my work before the boys woke, so I could spend the day relishing in them…extra karate classes, impromptu picnics in the park, and splashing in the neighborhood pool.
By the end of the summer, I’ll be honest, I was itching for school to start, so I could spend more time on my work. It’s a constant balancing act. But I wouldn’t trade my summer with the boys for anything.
Trying each day to relish a little bit more didn’t seem like it would ever amount to much. But a year later it’s added up to less time on my phone, almost never working in the evenings anymore, and relishing in the unexpected when sick days turn into sick weeks. And somehow (probably not coincidentally) I am producing some of my best work while still feeling like a good mom.
Okay, it’s time to get back to relishing. Today we hope to finish Double Fudge by Judy Blume, wrap a bunch of presents, and spend Christmas Eve with my family.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and spend your days relishing in the special moments with your loved ones.
UPDATE: I choose a guiding word for my home every year. Relish is the word I chose for 2015. Check out my new guiding word for 2018 and see how I’m displaying it in my home.