December is always such a hectic time, it seems, no matter what precautions I put in place to prevent it. It has seemed like life is always a blur from Buddy's birthday at the end of October all the way to New Years. I make notes in my planner about how to start things earlier the next year - little reminders of how to ease it when it comes this time next year. Despite the effort, it never feels much less hectic.
In this last year I have made a very concerted effort to use the word "no". Strange how difficult that can be. Strange how hard it is to tell someone else that no, you won't do this little thing for them. Even knowing that saying no to one thing is saying yes to something else that you feel, deep down in your heart, is more important. Even knowing that after you say that 'no', that it really does feel so good to not have yet another burden lying on your to do list, owing someone something else. It's hard. And despite so carefully trying to pare down my obligations and commitments, it feels as busy as ever, if not more so.
December is half over already. It's going so swiftly.
Basketball season has resumed. I confess that although I adored every moment of spring and fall baseball, I really enjoyed a down time break during our week days. The return of several evenings a week obligated out is both annoying and welcome. Buddy LOVES basketball and is in heaven. But it throws a wrench in our normal and makes things seem more rushed.
I hate rushing. Rushing makes me a ugly person.
That is not really true. It doesn't make me an ugly person. It merely reveals the ugly person that comes out when I'm pushed beyond ease. That ugly person is always there, only masked behind a more pleasant facade. Rushing is an opportunity to grow, change, improve, and allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in my heart and guide my actions, responses, and attitudes.
As I said, December is half gone. Being without my camera for a month really taught me how much life is documented when I have it. I know that some of it is due to the lack of light in the short days of December, and some of it is due to the downright dreary weather we've had most of this 12th month which left me uninspired, but I've just not photographed much life these last 17 days.
It's a short window. Christmas the year that they are 6 and 8. I won't get it back. They are at the cusp of remembrance. They'll remember this Christmas. They'll remember the decorations unique to our family. They'll remember where things were placed. They'll remember the way the light reflected here or there. How this sweet treat or hot cocoa tasted. They'll remember how I woke them for school singing carols at the top of my lungs. They'll remember whether I wrapped the packages with elaborate ribbons or just threw plain boxes under the tree. They'll remember whether I stopped what I was doing to enjoy something Christmasy
For various reasons, I've had to enter the recesses of older photo folders several times of late. And it has been fascinating to me how things that seemed so wholly forgotten come rushing back with the mere glimpse of a photo. Everything about the moment floods me. How I felt. How the sun felt. How it smelled. The texture. All of it. Something completely forgotten moments prior is now just as clear as if it had just occurred.
Photos are powerful memory keepers.
Perhaps my mid thirties is bringing me to an acceptance of the escaping of time and I'm grasping for any way to halt it. My children are growing up and a season of our life is over. My photos at least let me return to a time I cannot re live. They give me back the feeling, which is really want we want to experience again. We want to FEEL what it felt like just one more time.
I want to do a better job with these remaining December days of 2014. Photograph what life in our family is during the time we celebrate Christmas. Both for me and the days I'll want to immerse myself in in the attempt to remember, and for them -- to have photos to go with their own memories and mental images. To have something to look at to remember just how wonderful it was to have Christmas at home.