The Christmas season is quickly approaching and moms around the world are doing the holiday hustle.
We’re tracking our Amazon deliveries like a storm chaser tracks an impending storm. Wrapping gifts, addressing and stamping holiday cards, and making sure matching family pajamas have been purchased. Scheduling dates to celebrate with family and baking mounds of holiday treats. And when Christmas Eve finally arrives, you collapse into bed hoping you’ve done enough this holiday season.
Did you watch all of the classic holiday movies?
Did you get that gift out to the teachers?
Did you read all of the holiday books?
Have you driven around looking at Christmas lights yet?
There’s always so much to do in so little time. The pressure of crafting a perfect Christmas begins building the second the first piece of Halloween candy is devoured, and seemingly begins earlier and earlier each year.
I love Christmas, and my husband is a self-proclaimed Clark Griswold. All year long we can’t wait for the excitement of the holiday season, and we’ve been making holiday memories together since we were 16. I think we may have been the only teenage couple staying out late not for promiscuous reasons, but instead to admire the Christmas lights and decorations around town, dreaming of what our home might someday look like.
As December 2022 approached, we were ready to ring in the holiday season. However, a bad illness had other plans for our family.
Sick at Christmas
Our son caught a terrible upper respiratory infection the week before Christmas. He had never been so sick before: high fever, barking cough, and terrible congestion. It lingered for days, and his pediatrician tested him for all the things to let us know “it was a virus, let it run its course.”
These are not the words a parent wants to hear on December 22. We were hoping to leave with a prescription for some pink, bubble-gum flavored antibiotics (you know the kind), and subsequently a perkier child 24 hours later. His unfortunately timed virus caused us to miss out on a family Christmas gathering, attending Christmas Eve mass, and definitely added a layer of stress and worry to our holiday season. Thankfully he perked up on Christmas Eve, and we were able to celebrate, just at a slower pace.
His virus was a devastating blow to our “picture-perfect” holiday season, and I think I’ll forever associate Christmas 2022 as “the year Sammy was sick.” However, our five (then 4) year old doesn’t remember last Christmas that way.
He recalls coming downstairs and seeing a Hot Wheels race track and the footprints that Santa’s boots had left in our driveway. He remembers eating copious amounts of Christmas cookies, as he claimed it was the only thing that sounded good. Instead of racing around on Christmas day, we lingered over breakfast in our Christmas pajamas, watching “A Christmas Story” for the hundredth time. We were just so thankful our child was on the upswing from a terrible virus, knowing in our hearts other families around the world weren’t as lucky.
What Really Matters
While presents, wrapping, and cookie making are fun, they aren’t what truly matters in the holiday season. When our children remember the holidays, they aren’t going to remember what the Christmas cards looked like, or if each present was wrapped with a bow. They won’t remember if the house was spotless for Santa’s arrival. Instead, they’ll remember the magic they felt as they tiptoed down the stairs in the morning. They’ll remember the taste of a Christmas cookie still warm from the oven. They’ll remember the hugs they got from relatives coming together to celebrate, and the way their parents sat on the couch watching them open up their Christmas gifts. So in between your holiday hustling, know this: take it easy on yourself mama, and take a minute to breathe this season. Someday soon, you’ll have a Silent Night.
Emilee Brisel is a wife, mother, and Iowa native. She and her high school sweetheart are raising their two boys in their hometown of Newton, where she teaches first grade. In Emilee’s spare time, you’ll often find her in the kitchen creating recipes for her resident taste testers. She enjoys reading and exercising and looks for ways to make the everyday extraordinary for her family. You can read more from Emilee at: Bread with the Brisels.