As a mother of many, finding peace during the Christmas season

I always begin the season with great intentions: simplify, enjoy more, do a little less, focus on Christ more.

And then the season gets into full swing, and I sometimes start to feel like my head is slipping under the wave of activities. Like last week, when there was something every night that we were supposed to participate in, for 9 days from Friday through the next Sunday, including Rebecca’s birthday, which we “squeezed” in after the dance recital. And the book reports, science fair projects, white elephants gifts, choir concerts, soccer games, work parties, and Julia’s birthday last night. And the second-guessing of gifts purchased and trying to make sure it all comes out “even” for each child.

It reminds me of a poem I heard as a child when I was attending Relief Society with my mother in Palo Alto that Connie Bennion shared:

See Mother. See Mother laugh. Mother is happy.
Mother is happy about Christmas.
Mother has many plans. Mother has many plans for Christmas.
Mother is organized. Mother smiles all the time.
Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother smile. Mother is happy.
The shopping is all done. See the children watch TV.
Watch, children watch.
See the children change their minds.
See them ask for different toys.
Look, look, Mother is not smiling.
Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother sew.
Mother will make dresses.
Mother will make robes.
Mother will make shirts.

See Mother put the zipper in wrong.
See Mother sew the dress on the wrong side.
See Mother cut the skirt too short.
See Mother put the material away until January.
Look. Look. See Mother take a tranquilizer.
Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother buy raisins and nuts.
See Mother buy candied pineapple and powdered sugar.
See Mother buy flour, and dates, and pecans, and brown sugar, and bananas, and spices, and vanilla.
Look. Look. Mother is mixing everything together.
See the children press out cookies.
See the flour on their elbows.
See the cookies burn. See the cake fall.
See the children pull taffy. See mother pull her hair.
See mother clean the kitchen with the garden hose.
Funny, funny Mother.

See Mother. See Mother wrap presents. See Mother look for the end on the scotch tape roll. See Mother bite her finger nails. See Mother go.
See Mother go to the store 12 times in one hour.
Go Mother go. See Mother go faster. Run Mother run.
See Mother trim the tree.
See Mother have a party.
See Mother make popcorn.
See Mother wash the walls.
See Mother scrub the rug.
See Mother tear up the organized plan.
See Mother forget gift for Uncle Harold.
See Mother get hives.
Go Mother go. See the far away look in Mother’s eyes.
Mother has become disorganized. Mother has become disoriented.
Funny, funny Mother.  

It is finally Christmas morning. See the happy family.
See Father smile. Father is happy.
Smile Father smile.
Father loves fruit cake.
Father loves Christmas pudding.
Father loves all the new neckties.
Look, look. See the happy children. See the children’s toys.
Santa was very good to the children.
The children will remember this Christmas.

See Mother. Mother is slumped in a chair.
Mother is crying uncontrollably.
Mother does not look well.
Mother has ugly dark circles under her blood shot eyes.
Everyone helps mother to her bed.
See Mother sleep quietly under heavy sedation.
See Mother smile.
Funny, funny Mother.

Friday I was starting to feel that way–like the wave was going over my head–and I realized I hadn’t read my scriptures yet. I went into my room for about 2 minutes before a child came home for lunch. But in those two minutes, I was able to say a prayer and read about how Enos had pondered his father’s teachings and poured out his heart to God to help him figure things out. It was so little–so short–but somehow I got up with a renewed energy that I can only attribute to those 2 minutes of a time out to connect with God. I just plugged in to that Heavenly power source.

And then the rest of the day carried on. One step at a time. With a prayer in my heart. Things had a way of working out. I remembered to stop and breathe! And now I remember that Christmas isn’t about gifts–they will be soon forgotten, but being together and how we treat each other when we are together is what we remember.

So thankful for prayer and scriptures to bring peace into the swirl.

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