like so many folks, we've spent much of the last several days holed up, eating sweets and other things while spending time with friends and family. there was some Christmas caroling at a neighbor's (a professional pianist, she does it well) house with most of our immediate neighbors, a low key Christmas eve that started with papa taking her on a little adventure so that I could finish her felted play mat,
and ended with Claire and I going (as we did last year) to the service at the Episcopal church in town. they have a children's Christmas pageant which is quite adorable and they finish things off with a candlelit singing of Silent Night. she did not want to blow out her candle. we came home to papa making dinner and then we all bundled up on the couch to watch Rudolf. cinnamon rolls all prepped for the following morning, we tucked in for the night.
we try, I try, to keep things simple and not terribly gift-oriented this time of year. and still, as I put things under the tree for her... things I made, things I got free or next to free at swaps and thrift stores, things that are quite utilitarian (new pjs, her favorite watering can from the little homesteading and such supply store in Asheville, hairbands, toothbrushes...) I felt a little overwhelmed and wondered if it was still too much. which isn't to say that I don't want her experiencing the joy and delight that so many of us knew as children on Christmas morning. I just want her to know gratitude, and generosity, and to know in her little mind and body and heart that she already has all that she needs, and then some.
I think we're well on the way there, but this year, as she's almost four and the ways of the world are making themselves evident to her (whatever that means) I figure it's a good thing to be ever mindful of these things. of our intentions as parents, as a family. of how we want to raise our children, how I want to raise my child, and of the ripple effect of each little choice that is made.
of course along with mindfulness, we must leave plenty of room for fun (not that the two aren't entirely compatible). always working towards striking that elusive balance between such things. but still, can't go wrecking all the fun. so today, as we've tidied up from the joys and delights of Christmas morning and chipped away at the laundry pile, the dishes, the leftover sweets...... we also got ourselves ready for a trip up north to see friends and family. we leave in the morning, and there will no doubt be more sweets and more cheer and plentiful fun, fun, FUN.