Cassandra just turned two. She’s a typical toddler–full of energy and wonder. The world is an exciting place for her. Each new thing is exciting and worthy of her exploration. This holiday season has been no different. She has become our little investigator, making sure each holiday tradition meets with her approval.
In our house, for example, we don’t usually have many sweets. For our kids with certain disabilities, sugar can result in behavioral outbursts. So, instead of just limiting those with sugar issues, we limit all of the children. However, at Christmas, I relax the rules and accommodate the resulting behaviors. This year, Cassandra has discovered Christmas cookies. She can hear that container being opened from the other side of the house. And honestly, who can resist a little girl’s “Peas” when she politely asks for that cookie?
The Christmas trees have been another piece of wonder. She oohs and awes over each ornament. She has to touch them all and has even moved a few that were obviously placed in the wrong locations. The presents are equally as awe inspiring and we have to watch her closely to make sure she doesn’t start opening them all.
Don’t you wish we were all at this stage of wonder in our lives? The type of wonder where we find beauty in the simple things like colored lights and an inflatable Santa is so basic.
I have to admit that I become a child at Christmas. I want to sing all the familiar songs and find driving around looking at lights is, in my opinion, a wonderful way to spend a cold winter evening. It’s relaxing to me in a way that few things are.
We spend so much of our lives instructing our children on how to live their lives. We teach them how to get along in the world and how to cope. But, I believe that it’s this time of year that the children begin to instruct us. They see magic around every corner. Why can’t we?
In these magical times, it’s good to forget about the stress of the holidays. Take time to stop worrying about which family member is going to be difficult, embarrassing, or even downright hateful. Stop worrying about word deadlines, how many Christmas parties you need to attend, or even if you forgot to get your boss a present.
Take after your kids and share in the wonder. Enjoy the lights and festivities. Give thoughtful gifts and receive even the most obnoxious pair of socks with delight. Eat food you don’t see at other times of the year and be thankful. And, see the world through the eyes of a child, if only for a few days. You’ll feel better for it.
No matter what holiday you celebrate, enjoy your family and make traditions that they’ll remember forever.
Rev. Kelly Crenshaw is the mom of 16 adopted kids, two biological kids, guardian of one baby girl and foster mom of dozens. Some are lesbian, some gay, some straight, and some bisexual. Kelly founded a K-12 day school where kids could have a safe, bully-free environment for learning. She is co-owner of a counseling agency that works with children and their families. Send your parenting questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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