I want to remember how I felt when I look back at a photo, rather than recall what clothes we all were wearing or if our hair was brushed perfectly. The essence of life is captured in these moments.
Life is fleeting. Life is too short. That's something that I didn't comprehend when I was a young kid and thought that 37 was ancient. And by gosh, no one over 30 should have long hair-- let alone bows in it. Just like, there is a "set order" to complete school, marry and have kids. And, don't you dare think about living with someone prior to marriage. Who gives us those ideas and how do we evolve with a list of norms or rules of how to conduct ourselves in life-- especially, according to ages and stages? Well, the large majority of thoughts are streamed into our conscious from our upbringing and the media. However, if not questioned, we find ourselves thinking and doing things with no real basis of motivation other than, "this is the set pattern" or learned behavior.
I've been trying to consciously confront thoughts as such when they arise. Am I doing this out of tradition? Am I okay with this? Because I did this as a child, does it mean I want my kids exposed to it, etc... Which, brings me to the topic of Santa.
Long before we had kids, we knew we wanted to focus on the real meaning of Christmas and Saint Nicholas as he was a real person. However, it's tough to go against the grain once you actually have kids. From advertisements, to the weather person announcing Santa's departure to the lady at MSP stopping us and smiling at our kids to say, "Santa's watching," it sometimes appears as if everyone is okay telling and continuing a lie in the name of marketing and the "spirit" of the holidays.
Well, I'm not buying that. While we respect others decision to partake in Santa, we teach our kids about world traditions for the holidays. There is no carrot dangling in front of them to be good or they'll be put on a naughty list. We tell them that we love them unconditionally, just as Christ loved his son, and that they don't need any stranger to provide for them- Mommy and Daddy are here to do that.
We feel that the spirit is not found under the Christmas tree or entangled in lies that truly are not a "rite" to adulthood for children. Strong words, I know. It doesn't enhance their imagination and goes against every 'stranger' rule we've taught our kids.
In turn, there is less holiday hype and material expectations (though I freely admit, they are spoiled on occasion). We're able to marvel in the miracle of the season, relax and reflect on the year past and enjoy a family walk, without coats on Christmas in Minnesota.
At dinner, I asked Nishad what his favorite gift from Christmas was. He said, "You!" I couldn't hold back tears- the happiest tears. When I look back at this picture, I hope I will always feel the love that inspired my heart to sing to the heavens in pure joy.
Merry Christmas! Peace...