Christmas 2014: Vomit, Anxiety, and Other Plot Twists

It is December 28, 2014. Team Robs is two days removed from the fifth and final family function of the Christmas season, and I can sum up the holidays with this review:

THANK GOD THEY ARE (ALMOST) OVER.

I really hate to be a downer. That I have a large family with members who like each other enough to get together is a true blessing. But contrary to the rose-colored Facebook posts I keep seeing, I’m convinced I’m not alone in thinking there has to be something we’re all doing wrong with our overbooked and over-the-top Christmases. The constant rush to do all the shopping, wrap all the presents, take all the pictures, see all the people, cook all the foods, and just DO ALL THE THINGS takes away from what we’re supposed to be celebrating in the first place: the holy night, the newborn King, the light of the world. Continue reading

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Gratitude

Today is November 30, which means I am 4.29 weeks late to the “Days of Gratitude” series of posts on Facebook. You know the deal: for the month of November, Facebookers post one thing per day for which they are thankful. I’ve made similar posts for at least three years but abstained from doing so this year. No, it’s not because I’m an ungrateful hag in 2014; I think it’s just that I grew weary of giving thanks every day (and publicly) because it felt obligatory, cheesy, too intimate, and/or one-uppity.

However, with the kids now in bed, a glorious Thanksgiving break in the books, and the peace that comes from sitting on the couch in a dark living room – save the gleam of Christmas lights and a laptop – listening to Christmas music, I’m feeling quite thankful. Here are my expressions of gratitude – simple, profound, earthly, heavenly, and in no particular order. (And possibly repetitive. I mean, if you’re scrutinizing my gratitude list, please go read/eat/watch something that makes you happy, stat.)

I’m grateful…

  1. To have a husband who understands how critical it is for me to have some alone time to restore my sanity, and who ensures that I get the opportunity.
  2. For my Monkey – for the strides he has made, for the purity of his soul, and for how much he teaches me every day.
  3. For my Kitty, who makes me laugh (and sometimes cry) every day and helps me grow more patient multiple times per day hour.
  4. That our Christmas decorations, indoor and outdoor, are all up.
  5. That my fantasy football team pulled itself together in time for the league playoffs. (I acknowledge this is lame. Know what’s more lame? There is no prize for winning other than bragging rights. Seriously. Also, I’m a girl, so I’m not supposed to care about this at all!)
  6. That Starbucks is doing a little punch card thing where if you get five holiday beverages before Christmas Day, you get a free grande. I’m embarrassed that I’m 60% to that goal.
  7. That Facebook enables me to keep in touch with former students, particularly in this season in which I’m no longer an active teacher. Seeing my “kids” out of college and in the world doing incredible things to make it a better place – well, it beats a paycheck, that’s for sure.
  8. For the community of moms of children with autism that I’ve found via Facebook and Monkey’s school. Whether it’s when times are tough and/or when milestones are to be celebrated, I’m so thankful to have a group of mamas who “get it”!
  9. To have best friends who are a text and phone call away when I need to get something off my chest – or even just flat out lose it. They keep calling me back and replying to my texts… how blessed am I for that?
  10. For the chronological Bible study my cousin leads. She gives of her time and opens her home to help my cousins, sis-in-law, and me deepen our knowledge of God’s word and character, and the girl time with these ladies makes my week, even if it means I’m out too late. (Yes, the LRobs of 10+ years ago would NOT have believed she’d be tired from a late night out at Bible study!)
  11. That Mike Schur decided to write TV shows. If you didn’t watch The Office, and if you don’t currently watch Parks and Rec and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, get on board now. You won’t regret it!
  12. For concealer and caffeine – you’re the real MVPs.
  13. For babies in the tummies of dear, dear friends! (I can snuggle with your littles when they arrive and get my fix, because the Robs family zoo is full!)
  14. For the Timehop app. Seeing posts from the past makes me laugh, makes me thankful, helps me see God’s hand in my life, etc.
  15. For the helpers in Monkey’s life. God answered my prayers for people with both the heads (knowledge, skills, professionalism) and hearts for their jobs. His teachers, therapists, and paraprofessionals are the very best!
  16. For quiet time and devotionals that bring me eye-popping, dear-Lord-where-have-those-words-been-all-my-life?!? verses, including…
    1. James 5:16
    2. Ephesians 4:29
    3. Proverbs 22:3
    4. Isaiah 43:18-19
  17. For local rec centers. Just got a membership to our city’s for a great price. Stoked for Monkey to get the wiggles out in their heated swimming pool!
  18. That I’m letting go of the “have tos” and “need tos” in my life. Do I have to or need to do an item for each day of November to prove I’m grateful? I’ll say not. 🙂

In conclusion: for every sweet snuggle session with Kitty that made up for a day’s worth of tantrums; for celebrating ten years with my soul mate when not even a day with him is promised or guaranteed; for playful moments of togetherness and the excellent eye contact I got with every round of “If You’re Happy and You Know it, Tickle [Monkey}”; for every time I connected with a friend or loved one and felt less alone in this crazy life; for the ways God is developing my character through the challenges I’m facing in this new SAHM world; and for dozens of things I can’t think of right now – I’m thoroughly, humbly, and overwhelmingly grateful.