That pretty much sums up 2020, doesn’t it? Sure didn’t go how I “wanted” it to go. Well, neither did Christmas. Funny, I just wrote a post about how planning your time away from your kids is really helpful on holidays when you’re feeling sad about your kids leaving, and then not a single thing I planned happened this year. We plan, God laughs. Of course, I’m not alone nor are my specific circumstances even remotely difficult or special. Some states are completely shut down, and no one is supposed to go anywhere or see anyone. Some people can’t visit their sick loved ones in the hospital. I have friends in Canada who spent the entire Christmas day alone, zooming with family. That’s certainly not how they wanted their Christmas to go.
I’m lucky to live in Arizona where it’s not completely shut down. And, I’m very lucky to have family close by, and I had made plans to get together. Then, I got a sore throat and John got a fever. No, it’s not the ‘Rona, but still, I didn’t want to get anyone sick. So no one came over. Christmas Eve was supposed to be steaks and card games with the four of us plus my sister and brother-in-law. Instead, sister and brother-in-law did a drive-by. They dropped off their gifts, rang the doorbell, and ran back to the car to wave and say “Merry Christmas!” and “We love you!” They have no idea how much that meant to me. I cried when they pulled away.
The kids were supposed to come home at 6:30 on Christmas Eve for this said plan, but they didn’t get home until almost 8. So, John and I ate steaks alone (kids weren’t going to be hungry anyway) and put the 5 extra steaks back in the fridge. Filet mignon steak I had just bought that morning. But, when the kids returned, we did play cards and we did have a blast. John went to bed early, and then the three of us played Five Crowns, just like the old days when they were little. Brandon won.
Christmas Day was about the weirdest I’ve ever had. The plan was to hike in the morning, then our older daughter Payton and her boyfriend were going to come over at 11am for presents, mimosas and waffles like I do every year before my kids go to their Dad’s house. But alas, it was just John and me for hours. Oh, and remember that “plan a nap after the kids leave?” That didn’t happen either because the kids did all of their Christmas with their Dad on Christmas Eve, so they weren’t going back over there. John and I watched movies, and then we drove out to our new home site to see what progress had been made. On our way, we stopped at Starbucks along with 100 other cars (I don’t know why…it was something to do while we were waiting for the kids to get up) and that took 45 minutes, only to get the wrong drink. I ordered an americano and got a super sweet green tea latte. Gross! Seriously, how do you drink those? It’s like a gallon of milk. But I digress…This sounds like I’m complaining, but I’m not. It was actually funny. I do have a point, I promise.
While we were getting our “coffee”, Payton and Tim FaceTimed us. I told her I was disappointed because we got sick, and nothing was going how I wanted it to go, but I was also just trying to accept what IS, and just enjoy the day, and we made plans to get together next weekend and do our Christmas then. She said, “Well, this way, Christmas lasts longer. It will be Christmas for a week instead of Christmas being over in one day.” She is absolutely right.
The reason why something wasn’t supposed to go differently is because it just didn’t go differently. It is what it is. The kids finally got up around 2 or 3 in the afternoon (teenagers) and we opened presents, grilled steaks, had a yummy dinner all together at the table, and we all watched Wonder Woman together. Well, without John again, he felt like crap and went to bed.
That was how Christmas actually went down.
Why is it that we feel disappointment when what really happens is not what we planned or what we “wanted”? And I’m definitely not suggesting that we just “be positive” and “think positive thoughts” no matter what shit show is going down. That’s not helpful. It’s ok to feel disappointment and not pretend everything’s fine. But what helped me was truly examining what we perhaps wish were different and why we think so. This is all I have been thinking about for two days. Why is the idea I’d originally had in my mind about how the day was going to play out “better” than how the day actually played out? What makes us think that what we “want” is better than what “is”? What actually happened was a beautiful, quiet day, with just two kids, and Brandon’s girlfriend, who’s pretty much family at this point anyway. How is that not as good as what I planned?
It’s not. What this year is teaching me is that our plans are not necessarily what’s better. What actually happens, in the way it happens, will be so no matter what we want. So, we have a choice. Be upset because we didn’t get our way, or just be in the present moment. Believe me, this was a struggle for me the last few days (45 years). Perhaps that’s why these situations keep showing up. I plan, (and I love to plan, I’m a Capricorn type-A psycho) and it doesn’t happen the way I plan. And I can be miserable and upset, or I can accept what is and enjoy what is. Perhaps I need to keep learning that what I think I “want” is just that. What I think I want. Period. What’s the importance of “what I want”? Is it really that important? What really happened were beautiful moments with my family, all in the same room, with no phones. Isn’t that really what I want? When we get to the core of what we really want, and what truly matters, the details don’t matter.
Steaks for 7 vs. steaks for 2 one night; steaks for 5 the next. It really doesn’t matter. I got to eat filet mignon two nights in a row! Sorry I ate your steak, sis. I was freakin delicious. Instead of a bigger crowd on Christmas Day, it was quiet. I’m not used to quiet. I have ten brothers and sisters. What’s wrong with quiet? Nothing! I’ve longed for more quiet and order my entire life. Yes, I wish I could have seen my sister and my daughter, but I will see them soon when I feel well again. I got to spend time with my kids. I wasn’t working, I wasn’t distracted, I didn’t feel like I was being pulled in different directions. Being a little under the weather made me slow down. We literally had nothing to do but to hang out. Beautiful. Not specifically how I had planned, but beautiful.
Maybe when we accept what is, we realize what is is what we needed. When we acknowledge what is, we can create beautiful moments.
I’ve definitely realized that I put much importance on “the plan” for one single day or two holidays. Now that the holiday is “over”, I feel that I need to put more intention behind all of the time I’m not at work and my kids are here. But in actuality, since I didn’t get what I thought I wanted, the holidays aren’t over and I get to keep having Christmas for another week (after we both feel better and we can have people over!)
I hope you had a beautiful Christmas, even if it didn’t go exactly the way you planned. And PS, it doesn’t have to be over. Why don’t you just keep Christmas going right along with me for the next couple weeks? Why not?
Wishing you lots of love,