Stress.  Anxiety.  Ugh, freakin anxiety, man.  I’ve been up to my eyeballs with it lately.  The holidays have been doing that to me recently.  The kids get so wound up, so off-schedule, eat too much sugar, don’t get enough sleep.  I don’t need to tell you, you know how it is:  a recipe for disaster.  With a 4 ½ year old and an almost-2-year old, it is not easy (remember when Thanksgiving used to be relaxing? Ha! I’m still catching up on laundry from that lovely long weekend).  They get so excited, which, don’t get me wrong, is wonderful, but then they get over excited.  Then over tired.  Then, yep, you know – it all ends in tears.


This year I’m trying to keep things as low-key as possible for them while still enjoying all the fun parts of the holiday.  For example, Our Elf on the Shelf showed up last week, we open our advent calendars every morning, and every afternoon after I pick them up from daycare we do a little loop around our neighborhood and look at Christmas lights.  I want them to enjoy this time without getting overwhelmed.  I want them to remember the fun things we DID, not the stuff they GET.  And most importantly I want to be with my boys.  Really BE with them.  Be present.  “Ooh” and “Ahh” over the same Christmas lights on the same houses we pass every night, sit on the floor and color, play, and race Matchbox cars.  Soak up all of their innocent joy.  And above all, be thankful every second I can wrap my arms around their tiny little bodies.


Because that’s the only thing that matters.


Next week is December 14th.  The anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings.  Last year I wrote about it.  And as long as I’m given the chance, I will continue to write about it.


I will remind you of it every year.


I will remind you not to make you feel sad or angry (although I understand that’s inevitable), but to remind you of what matters and what doesn’t.  Listen, I understand that meals need to be planned, cards mailed, presents bought, wrapped, etc.  I know I’m going to stress about finances, weight-gain, and my messy house.  I know I am, because that’s just me.  However, amidst the chaos, I will pause, take a deep breath, and watch my babies.  I’ll scoop them up and kiss them and tell them “You’re such a good boy.  I love you so much.”  They’ll squeal, then wriggle out of my arms and run away.  But I will continue to do that.  Over and over.  And then again.  Because I can.


They are here.


And they are all that matter.