The holiday season has begun and yet again this year I find myself struggling to find where I fit in. My mom got sick when I was 12 and I have such a short window of ever remembering a good Christmas. I remember the ones that were sad, lonely, and devoid of much joy. My mom was sick or we did not have money for food and bills so gifts, Christmas, and Santa were not top on the list.
Somehow my dad loved Christmas and yet what I saw of that was the love of decorating, the ambience that made it seem that all was well when really it was not. I am torn by my ghost of Christmas past, and how I really have never gotten into the Christmas spirit since I was 12. It has always felt forced and fake to me. I have been at other Christmas’ as an adult where the kids involved ripped their gifts open and only asked for more. It rubbed me the wrong way and I vowed to never breed that in my family. I either do not want to celebrate it the way the rest of the world does, or I want to create a different story. Chris agrees.
Added to my ghost of Christmas past — is that Nico’s birthday is on Christmas. Due to my past I would rather spend the day celebrating him and his birthday than Christmas. Yet, how do we do that when others in our life might not understand where we are coming from? I have long had the opinion (and have shared in other blogs) that I do not want to lie to Nico about Santa. I think there is a way to keep the world magical and real and not lie to our children. How do we ever expect them to trust us if we lie to them? Magic can happen with honesty. Did we all just get sucked into the story of Christmas? The one that circles back to Black Friday, retail, and consumerism? Or is it about spending time together, shared experiences, and giving to others? How many of us actually do that during the holiday season?
Gratefully, Nico will not know the difference this year, but next year will be different. This year (whether his birthday, or if we decide to do an actual Christmas) he is delighted to just have us open a box from Amazon Prime — even if the box contains batteries. Even better when it has a toy truck or school bus.
Call me extreme, but this momma is torn on what to do and how to bring the true spirit of Christmas into Nico’s life.
It has been a while since I have put my fingers to the keyboard in a way that was not a means to the end. There is not enough time in the day to allow my mind to slow down and ponder life, to let the mantra in my head release and allow the clickity clack of the keys bring forth the words in my mind to share with you. There have been many days when I have written a blog in my head and when the few free moments at the end of the day graced me, my eyes melded shut while the now comfortable whoosh whoosh sound of the pump surrounds me as I drain the last milk of the day out of my boobs. That or I am finishing the necessary work to prep for my next day, because when I get home at the end of the day I want to spend every moment with my growing little boy. Did I mention that I am back in the office?
I will tell you I have missed you. I have missed my daily rants and release of ideas that I come across in the day in hopes that it brings a smile to your face, pause to your day, or a WTF moment. Last week a colleague shared an article that just got my wheels turning and I had to share. This article is about the saltbox. A bit random I know but the author just hit at so many ideas that resonate with me. Her story of the Saltbox titled: “Lessons according to salt.”
“The saltbox itself as an object is unremarkable. Alone, it communicates nothing. Says nothing about its role. Its intention. Its history as a gift born out of a romance between my maternal grandparents. Says nothing of its possibilities.
But add people, and it becomes a central iterative device. The license to change, to iterate, to test, to add, to make, to make over, to create (clearly, with food). It gives license and latitude to stray from what has been written (recipes) for those too shy to do. Therefore, it gives strength. It gives iterative powers to those not comfortable with version control. With its subtlety comes comfort in change. One might say the saltbox, and access to it, is magic.”
Later the author says:
“What separates a leader from a manager is the quality of an editor. The role of a good editor is not to be seen, in fact, but to make an author’s words come forward. A good editor dissolves into the background. It’s not unlike typography. Focus too much on the type, and you’ve lost the story. Whether as editor, director, or head of department, my role is not to be seen, but to create a space to make the stories of those I work with come forward.”
I manage a team of ten amazing souls that make it worth coming to work each day. Is it always fun? No. Is it always easy? No. But damn we have fun trying. I hope that I keep focusing on the story and that I create a space to make the stories come forward.
Maybe it resonates with me because I write, or maybe it is because I am a new mom and I think that, much like leading a team, as a momma I really am here to love the crap out of this little bugger, but also to create the space for his stories to come to life. My role is to let him shine and be seen. Momma, manager, editor.
I encourage you to read Liz’s full article on the saltbox. Maybe it will inspire you too.
Growing up I was addicted to my grandma. For some reason we had a special bond when I was little. Maybe it was because I was the youngest, or maybe I just spent the most time with her, but I had a way of getting her to laugh, smirk, and end her sentence with: “Oh, Tami.” Usually because I was doing something that she would have thought girls should not do or talk about, and yet I had to be different and try to do what I could to “shock her.” I was a good girl, yes, but she was easy to shock.
While in some ways my sister and I had the strangest relationship with my grandma (she was not always there for us in ways she should have been) but she also was sometimes there in ways we would not have expected. Part of it was her upbringing, part of it was that I do not think she knew how to handle us. Since my mom died when we were quite young, my grandma was our stand in. That does not mean she became mother/grandma, it just means she is the only maternal family figure we had left. Which meant she handled us in the way she knew, and the way she was comfortable with — which mostly meant let us figure it out for ourselves. Maybe that is why I am this way — “I will do it on my own, in my way, and do not get in my way.” I did not have much choice.
I am trying to remember how often I saw little kiddos around my grandma. I think she might have cooed a bit when she saw them. I think she smiled and warmed up a bit, but I’m not sure she got goose bumps and maternal around them. So when I saw this viral article about “What Happens When You Put a Daycare in a Nursing Home? Magic” I thought, “Would that have made her softer, happier? Would she have come out of her shell?” I learned a lot about what I would and would not do from my grandma. It was hard to know where you stood with her. Her expression of love was, well, different. This video brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes of the possibilities of love that get passed from these little ones in daycare to those in the nursing home and vice versa. It is getting made into a documentary called: “Present Perfect.”