Today on the way to work, I dropped my 8yr old son off at his grandparents with no more than a math book and a lunch box carrying a bag of ham! BAG. OF. HAM. That’s what he wanted to eat for his noon meal. Nothing else. Now, to be fair, there were actually two bags of ham in that lunch box. One for Manchild, and one for his grandparents (I mean, it was a 10lb ham, and sharing it now counts as Social Studies, right? #HomeschoolRules). I had no doubt Grandma would probably help him round out his lunch with a few healthier sides, but in the hustle of the morning, a bag of ham worked for us!
I remembered when my kids were little. We were told things like: hold off on starting solid foods until they’re 6 months old, start with yellow and orange vegetables they have the least allergens, stop the bottle at one year old and switch to a sippy cup, and above all else no sugary drinks! We followed ALL that stuff. We obeyed the rules, we read the literature, and weighed the pros and cons on everything.
As the kids grew, we relaxed. We had an amazing public school, we always had a parent home to greet them off the bus, we ate home cooked family dinners together every night. We were raising tiny humans the best way we knew how. With lots of love, a firm Jesus following foundation, and just enough independence to let them explore a taste of freedom. It was good. They were good!
Then 2020 hit, and things got real bad, real quick. I remember prepping our rental house to sell just before Covid was on our radar. With time and money running out, and the stress of pulling up miles of carpet (all those stinking staples and nails), painting with complaining kids in tow, and beating the clock before the mortgage was due again life felt AWFUL. I clearly recall our relief at closing that now the hard chapter was closed, and we could breathe a sigh of relief! Ha. That was January 2020.
But now that gentle sigh of relief seems to be coming around again. While Covid is ramping up, and our financial situation remains questionable, we aren’t afraid. Our schools never opened, so there is no fear of them closing again. Our kids each enjoy their virtual or home school set up, and we know what quarantining looks like. I’ve lived through having Covid, gotten a better handle on the work from home thing, and have learned how to handle being an introvert who is never alone. We see God’s fingerprints all over our lives, and know we are being held tight. Hope has floated back up to the top again, and we are joyful.
As the days are getting darker much earlier in the evenings now, we’ve begun to string Christmas lights around our living room. The lights bring me so much happiness as they add warmth to the darkness, and like many others this year, I can not wait for the holiday season to begin! Yes, it will all be odd or different. But so what? Tradition can be good, but tradition can also be immobilizing. Let’s spice it up a little and try something new this year? I’m ready for an adventure. I don’t want the same menu and schedule as last year (as if that were even an option anymore). If the perfect square meal were laid out, I’d opt for the bag of ham in a second!
I have friends who have already put their Christmas tree up. Last week, actually. Why not? Half the excitement about celebrating Jesus’ birthday is the anticipation of looking forward to the celebration. You can start that when ever you want to! Girlchild is ready now. Captain Schenanigans still needs a little more time. Lights he can embrace (if it means a happy wife), but the tree before Thanksgiving is more than he can wrap his head around, and that’s OK. But that’s not true for everyone. Go ahead and put yours up early, walk on the wild side one year, see what happens?!
There’s only another 8 weeks left in 2020, and while the whole world seemed to bottom out in the middle of the year, I think we can finish strong. Different. But strong. Because we are being held by a God who is stronger, and change, while often painful, can also be an adventure.