the weight of good things

I am feeling the weight at the moment. Not the weight of worry, or the weight of despair, but the weight of good things.

The weight of so many really good books, piling up on my bedside table that I have started reading and not yet finished.

The weight of the myriad of great creative links my online friends have suggested. All open in another tab to read / listen to / download one day.

The weight of any number of spring projects that need attention around our house.

The weight of friends I should text, email or Skype.

The weight of fifty different activities I could do with my children at any given time. The weight of whether we focus on reading, or animals, or numbers, or sea creatures, or countries, or …

All good things, all worthy of time and attention, and all of them weighing me down.

Non of them urgent, there will be no dire consequences if I don’t read a few books or links. Maybe my house will suffer for a few more weeks with windows in dire need of a clean, and my kids will just learn as they play and ask questions through the day.

house

And isn’t that the point? It is more about me, this weight. In a sense it is self-inflicted, because really it doesn’t matter if these things don’t happen. It’s the fact that I see them and can’t get round to doing them, that’s what makes me tired.

The way I see it, I have two options. First option, find some time to do some of the things that I see undone and make some progress. Second option, let go of my own expectations, give myself a break, quantify what I do actually do in a day, breathe and allow things to be half-done, undone or not even started.

I know I have a tendency to take the first option, and then beat myself up when things remain unfinished, so today I am going to try the second (for me much harder) one.

It is okay if books aren’t finished and links aren’t read and windows not cleaned, because today I have provided craft activities and play-doh (and cleaned up after); I have fed my children and myself a number of times, (and cleaned up after); washed and hung and folded clothes; read books; helped with puzzles; cuddled; adjudicated arguments; soothed tempers; rubbed bumped heads and toes; changed nappies; and listened to an impromptu musical concert, and all this before lunch. Sometimes it is not so much looking at what you don’t do but what you do do that makes the difference.

when what you dread happens

Last winter my eldest daughter had croup, it was terrible, she was very sick, she didn’t eat for days, and I was extremely tired and sick with worry. So this winter, I have been dreading another bout of croup. Through various means I have been trying to (futilely) control whether she gets sick again. Obviously I can’t control my daughter’s health. Inevitably, this week, we have had another bout of croup.

croup

And you know what, it hasn’t been that bad. I have the previous experience which enabled me to see the signs and get her to the doctor quicker; I know those strategies that worked before to help her breathe better and cough less, and those that didn’t; I have a daughter who is older and easier to get the medication into; I still have ridiculous quantities of play-school on my PVR (ok … so I didn’t press delete!); I have the capacity to handle her illness.

My fear of it being the same as before never was realised. This time is different because I learnt from last time. All the fear did was make me worry when everything was fine, it fed my need for control and my anxiety. It turns out my fear of her being sick was worse than the illness itself.

Maybe that’s why it says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)

advent expectations

I love the Christmas traditions of my Anglican childhood and in particular the tradition of advent. The time of anticipation, waiting expectantly for the excitement of Christmas day. I love that these traditions extend the christmas season, I love that they create a focus and a frame for the day itself, and I love remembering previous Advents through them.

This year I have been so hung up about advent. I have searched the city and others for an advent calendar for my girls. But not just any advent calendar, one that fits with the ones I used to have as a child; an advent calendar with a picture of Joseph and Mary and Jesus; one with verses for each daily reveal as well as the little picture. None to be had (thanks for scouring HK dad). Then I toyed with the idea of making my own advent calendar etsy/pintrest style – but couldn’t for the life of me find my “inner Martha Stewart“.

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Finally a gracious friend called and said she had found an advent calendar and bought one for me. And you know what when I got it, I looked at it and thought, “no that’s not right, it’s covered in pictures of Santa Claus! How can I teach my girls about the true meaning of Christmas with this advent calendar?”

I toyed with not even using it, and it was only because I thought my friend might ask, or come to my house and not see it in use, that I did (sorry K!). But you know the first picture is of a crown, and the second of a gift, the third of a boat (random) and the fourth of an angel.  So we have opened the calendar as a family and talked to our girls about why we give gifts at christmas and of the gift God gave us; we have talked to them about the angels in the story (there’s a few). We have talked to them about the king. (Any ideas on the boat will be appreciated!)

And as we open the pictures on this tree, slowly the santas are disappearing and being replaced by the true story of Christmas. (Thanks K!)