Parents are making shopping lists from special recipes and re-arranging colors in the house for the holidays. Children will come back from college, work, travel, or their own homes, and some won’t be able to make it. Winter break for college children can last for three to four weeks. Changes in life circumstances such as divorces, financial problems, or illness, might make this holiday different than the ones before.
Some children have other commitments and can’t be with you, but you can still put candles and flowers around the house. Enjoy the beauty of your sacred home. Cook the foods you love and have fun reading new recipes. Plan a day out of the house where you can be around others if your family isn’t coming to visit. Maybe volunteer at a shelter, serve a meal to others, or ask if you can read to children at your local library or school. Meaning can add inspiration.
A little email or short chat on the phone before the children arrive sets the tone for the holidays and acknowledges the changes in all of your roles.
Here are some things you might wish to share with your children before they return home:
1. I am so excited to see you.
2. I know you have been on your own and without an authority figure.
3. I have discovered a new freer routine for me.
4. We all are changing our roles and awkward in the practices.
5. You and your friends must be so excited to be with each other again.
6. Grandma, Grandpa, and your brother and sister can’t wait to see you and they know you need time to veg out, sleep, and see friends.
7. Hopefully you will have time to schedule your doctor appointments and other things you want to get done while you are here.
8. Ok good news … no curfew
9. Ok bad news … park the car on the street since you come home later and we have to get out the door before you.
10. Keep the night noise of talking on your phone and playing music to a quiet tone.
11. Turn out the lights.
12. Do your own laundry.
13. Put the dishes in the dishwasher.
14. Don’t hog the remote.
15. If you don’t see it in the refrigerator write down what you want before you or I go to the market. It is not funny to put those empty milk cartons back in the frig.
16. I know your plans will change like not coming home for a meal, so text us or call to give us a heads up.
17. Please don’t leave the gas tank on empty.
18. Print this email and read it before you walk in the door or don’t worry there will be a copy on your bed. No, I did not change your room or rent it out.
19. Let me hug and kiss you and fuss over you. Yes, I know you aren’t a child anymore, but I am still your mom.
20. I will lower my expectations on how the holidays used to be. I won’t let the little things ruin our time together. Let’s just clear the air in seconds rather than long talks if something does come up.
Emotions rise and fall during the holidays. All our losses seem to emerge. Tears drop and tissues fill the car. Music stirs up memories. We feel pressure from television and magazine ads about how we’re supposed to look, decorate, shop, or be.
My reminder list will be:
- Get up, dressed, and out the door for a quiet morning walk.
- Take deep breaths when I feel anxious or angry.
- Ask for help.
- Shift my perception in the moment.
- Have fun!
- Stay curious!
May the holidays bring you inward reflection and outer connections that add meaning to your life. May you dance and sing and make a fool of yourself if it brings a smile.
“Dream your dreams. Help others feel at ease when they walk through your door but do not abandon yourself.”—Natalie Caine
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