And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. – Dr. Seuss
I’ve sent maybe 25 emails in the past thirty days. God is good. I’ve given myself time to unwind, to reconnect, to be a Mama. We’ve seen Santa three times. We’ve visited the Christmas lights at Chick Fil A (they’re amazing) three times. We’ve baked cookies (ten, no TWELVE dozen… Daddy got into them). We’ve had play dates. Lots. We’ve gone shopping. We’ve painted with our hands AND our feet. We’ve swung on the swings. Brady’s favorite. We’ve purchased a new car for our little family (The 2012 Ford Explorer is gorgeous). We’ve outfitted our kitchen with new appliances in preparation for a complete overhaul next year. We’ve watched cherished Christmas movies. We’ve had friends over. We’ve visited friends. We’ve made friends. We’ve started swimming lessons. We’ve loved, loved, loved just being the last few weeks.
The best news of the past few weeks is news that no one will really realize. Bryan and I haven’t, for obvious safety reasons, shared anything about this for the past year. But beginning two weeks before Brady was born, Bryan began a position (he is in sales) that required him to travel every week. Every Tuesday morning he hugged little Brady and I and flew to West Palm Beach (where his territory was) to stay in a lonely hotel until Thursday late evening. And every Thursday he burst through the doors with a big smile to greet an even BIGGER smile on little B’s face.
It was hard.
We carefully made the decision for him to take this job while I stood on the shores of Maui last November. Eight months pregnant and excited/nervous we jumped head first. It was a wonderful job and, looking back, was the best decision for our family. But just this week, Bryan accepted a position with another company here in Clearwater, Florida. It fits our family in so many ways and will allow Bryan to be home every night for dinner.
Praise the Lord.
Honestly, I have no words other than those. This year has been unbelievable (understatement of the century) but having Bryan gone, while I work full time from home, with a baby….. it was all just too much. There were moments in September and October when I literally thought the floor was going to fall out from under me and I was just going to sink into a puddle. It was so hard to do so much. And it broke Bryan’s heart every time he had to say goodbye to B.
But we made it.
And here we are. As we wrap up the year and head to Pensacola to spend time with my family… I just have to sit back and tell myself… these are the days we’ll remember. The good, the bad, the hard, the times we want to get BACK in the bed and start over… these are those days. I watched little B today with Bryan. NO ONE on the planet makes Brady laugh harder than Bryan. And Brady watches his Daddy with the eye of a little boy whose idol is in the room.
Somehow that hot frat-boy, bartender I fell for twelve years ago is that man who loves our little boy more than anything in the world. Having these past few weeks (and a few more!) off has been food for my soul. I remember sitting at engage!11 in Grand Caymen and hearing Donna Von Bruening read a blog post she wrote after taking three months off… and feeling tears well up in my eyes (I was on the cusp of this much needed hiatus). She talked about how she disconnected from the world and reconnected with herself, her family, her kids, her husband, her photography. She talked about being addicted to busy.
Yes. I thought. I need this. I am that.
Not only am I loving this time and thankful that I made it a goal at the beginning of this year, but I am hereby instituting the “December OFF” rule from here on out. It will require more work the rest of the year to prepare for such amazingness, but as creative people, we have to reconnect, refill, refuel and recenter ourselves.
So I challenge you to unplug for the next week. Make yourself unbusy. Be silly. Create memories. Soak up these precious, crazy, beautiful days.
The photo above is my every day. Brady is crawling now and is into everything. If I could get him exactly what he wants for Christmas… it would be a bowl of dog food.