Tuesday, December 18, 2012
I choose growth. What will you choose?
"Change is inevitable. Growth is optional."
~John C. Maxwell
When Joel and I set goals for ourselves and our family - we in no way intend for these goals to hurt other people. However, we can't spend our lives worrying about who might take our priorities personally. Numbers 3 and 4 above really speak to this. Often times, people are so fearful of change, that they get stuck in a rut. I refuse to allow myself to be stuck in a rut... Especially if it's because other people react strangely or negatively when I am motivated to pursue the necessary change!
Here is my FB post - which has received 15 "likes" thus far, among other positive commentary:
"Starting a new family tradition for Christmas Eve - Just the 4 of us... Fireside, Christmas music playing, games, books (The Night Before Christmas, anyone?), candles, twinkling lights, Wine, hot cocoa for the girls, and just being together. And I make no apologies nor do I feel guilty about it! Haven't been this excited for Jesus' birthday in a number of years. Merry Christmas!"
In describing our new traditions for Christmas to the extended family (and some close friends) - and creating some new traditions with said family in that process - here are the responses I received:
#1) "Yes. You have your own family now, and you need to enjoy this time with your little girls." ~Friend
#2) "I guess we won't see you or your brother on Christmas Eve this year.... New traditions and all..." ~Family member
#3) "AH! We did that exact kind of thing every year growing up... I absolutely loved it. Some of my favorite memories of Christmas..." ~ Friend - (whose mother passed away while my friend was quite young; These are fond memories with her mother! We are not promised tomorrow!)
#4) "Good for you, D... You gotta follow your heart!" ~Friend
#5) (After suggesting, twice, that we meet with this group for gifts for the little girls prior to other plans in order to prevent it from getting too late for our very young children who require a scheduled sleeping pattern to function properly and avoid manic melt-downs and further illnesses...) "Or why don't we just send them [gifts] home with you and you can have them under the tree for Christmas eve....I guess we've seen them open gifts on Christmas before. We sure wouldn't want them to be too tired for Christmas. I guess what ever you feel is better and I can always send cheesecake home with you to enjoy later..." ~Family member
#6) Lastly, My FAVE! "Sounds like a lovely new tradition. I'm just glad I'll get to have all of you here together on Christmas day then!" ~Family member!! (Yay! 1 for 3 on the fam-spectrum)
And hence, the struggles that accompany change AND growth. Attempted manipulation, guilt-trips, and other jabs... But alas, Joel and I had decided that something needed to change - and we really wanted to make sure Christmas had meaning for us and the girls. Rather than being bound by outdated 'traditions' that capitalized on the commercialism of it all, we want to create real, cozy, family-oriented, real-meaning-of-it-all, truly happy with no awkward anomosity, expectations or other negative influences, down-home memories! Sure, the fams got together - but then we were also running around from place to place, trying to please everyone, enduring some unpleasant things in amongst the enjoyment of family - ultimately exhausted & unfulfilled ourselves. And so - we are growing, as we make changes that have been prompted in our hearts. Here's hoping some of the folks on my list can also learn how to grow as they accept the changes that other grown adults in their lives will inevitably make, based on their priorities and what holds meaning for them in life. Our families - the people who make up our family, that is - do hold meaning in our hearts; We are, in fact, gathering with all of them (and then some) for the holiday festivities!! Now, we simply spread things out, and enjoy Christmas the way we desire in there as well. To me, seems like a win-win-win! Christmas is spent with one side on an afternoon of the weekend prior or following - with a new restaurant to try out each year! For the other side, a Christmas Day dinner - where each smaller family-unit will be able to be present at the same time! In between - we visit a place of worship, and then enjoy the warmth that only home can provide, while reveling in the joy of this occasion! AMEN!
TIP: A tiny little thing called compromise, or meeting in the middle, can often breed happiness for all involved. If only we could all think like this more often!!
A QUOTE: "He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree." ~Roy L. Smith
WHIDFML: BEGAN to instate my FAVORITE-EVER New Year's Resolutions! A) I will no longer allow moments to pass me by/ potentially regret a decision over the possibility of another's negative reaction to my choices/ or their weirdness/ being stuck in their own habbits. B) I will no longer allow the negativity of others to influence ME negatively. There is a difference between caring about loved ones, and no longer caring about what they THINK of me/ how they may judge me (particularly since they should be the last ones to judge their own family), based on my personal priorities in life. Refer to #4 under Dr. Seuss! C) Even when life gets frustrating - remember it's all going to be just fine, and remain calm, and stay POSITIVE. D) Last but not least - BE KIND. ALWAYS. Let in the people trying to move over into my lane. Allow the person behind me in line with 2 little items go ahead. Think more about WWJD... Just represent the change I want to see in the world; (No more of this "Me, me, me... gotta get ahead. I don't care who I 'run over'! More kindness, more realizing we're all just people... and we all are struggling with something.)