'TIS THE SEASON
When I think about the holidays I think about family, love and kindness.
I've been so blessed to have so many people in my life who care about me including, most of all, my husband and my family. I have nine healthy and beautiful grandchildren who claim my thoughts every single day. It fills me with so much joy when I receive photos, messages and mail from them, and I am thankful all the time for technology to keep my loved ones near even though they live far away. I'm writing a children's book right now, an adventure story in which five children find themselves in another world and have to figure out how to get home. As I write it, I'm reminded of the many hundreds of hours I spent over the years reading aloud to my own children at bedtime or otherwise and how much it bonded us. Reading opened conversations, settled minds, allowed us to explore other places, got us thinking, soothed our souls, built our imaginations and we did it together. I read to my children even into their teen years when they would sometimes bring home friends to listen in. It was a joy I never tired of. I now have grandchildren and full-grown children who read together and it's good to know it was a tradition I fostered that carries on. My book is written with this in mind, and I imagine my grown children reading it aloud to their children once it's finished.
The holidays are drawing near in whatever way you celebrate them, and I'll spend time with family online and friends in person and we'll eat together and laugh and have a drink or two. I might get a bit giddy and laugh too loud, but no one will mind because that's what love is. It allows you to get silly and not feel bad later. It allows you to be yourself always, not just when you're home and alone. It means that your loud laugh and your clumsy ways, your endless chatter about nothing and your extra pounds are all endearing qualities and things that people look forward to and cherish. To love is to not overlook those things but to appreciate them for the beauty they embody. To love means you want the person in your heart to be who they truly are. I'm a little quirky, sometimes odd. Do I talk to myself? Yes, all the time. Do I talk to the characters in my head? Obviously. Do I wear really colorful clothing and put my hair in pigtails at the age of 54? Absolutely. Do I dance in the kitchen and sing very loudly and off key? Almost every day. Do the people who love me care about these things? They look forward to them because they recognize me and, for that I am thankful this holiday season.
I am grateful for their kindness as well as their love. It costs nothing to be kind to someone. A bit of your time, perhaps. I bit of thought, maybe. A listening ear, often. It's always easy to just carry on and look the other way but it takes a bit of effort to be kind. Kindness is not a one-way street. I have found that kindness multiplies. It ricochets into the universe and comes back to you in the most unexpected ways. My husband had to deal with some health issues this past couple of weeks and it was scary to see this man who is such a rock and so strong always, knocked to his knees. He's mending and, thankfully, will be perfectly fine after some rest and recuperation but, it made me see how kind people can be. I was grateful for people who ran errands, offered words of support, listened and helped out. You know who you are, and I love you for it. Kindness. It costs you nothing, but its worth is so high it's difficult to estimate.