Her happy place…

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Every family has their own vacation rituals, right? My childhood trek was to, wait for it, the great state of South Dakota. Every. Single. Summer. My mom had little vacation time, so the yearly pilgrimage to South Dakota was a big deal. We got a bag of cheetos, twizzlers, made some sandwiches, filled up the coffee thermos, and wouldn’t dream of forgetting to pack “Love is- Best of the 70’s” tape, part 1 and 2. I can still recite every single line of “Islands in the Stream” and “I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.” (Now if that isn’t a great party trick…I don’t know what is…)

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No air conditioning, sticky seats, and an older sister that barely tolerated me headed to a town smaller than my own. Sweet bliss! As time has gone on, what I remember most about these trips is how happy my mom was. This was the one time that I could imagine what she was like as a child. She hummed getting close to South Dakota. She let me blow things up with my rowdy cousins in South Dakota. She let me drive a car (when I was 13) in South Dakota. This was her happy place.

Of all the gifts from childhood, the ability to see your parents as people separate from yourself is a lasting one. I always associated my mom with work, cleaning the house on Saturday mornings, grocery shopping, and worrying about the future. I saw someone different in South Dakota. It was the equivalent of seeing your elementary school teacher on a ride at the county fair. They can have fun?! That’s allowed?

I just spent the last week packing to decamp with my own family to the lake for a month. I hummed while writing my packing list. I overheard my kids talking last night, “Just ask her. She’ll probably let us. Mom’s in her happy place.”

Bike to get ice cream? At 10 o’clock? You bet. I’ll do you one better. I’ll race you there.

Keep sharing moxie. Happy Canada Day to our friends to the North & Happy 4th to those stateside.

 

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Want. Need. Wear. Read.

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The Christmas gift-giving concept is straightforward: something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read. It sounds simple. It should be simple.

I pitched my idea to my firstborn and, ever the rule follower, she promptly gave me a bullet point list. 1. Want-Bookniture, furniture made from books. 2. Need-Shopping money for Paris.

I stopped reading at number 2.

I tried with my preschooler. “I want a drone.” What do you need? “I need a drone.” This prompted a discussion on the definitions of want and need.

Is this a hard question? I turned inward. What do I want? What do I need? Nothing, really. My children don’t truly lack for anything, but I don’t either. So what do I want? Time. Uninterrupted time with them, with my sisters, with…my favorites. What do I need? The same thing, time.

I realize that now that my list-making days are over. I’ll be asking for the same thing every Christmas from now until the end. I want time with the people I love. I’m going to be vocal about it, too, so my children start to begin to get the idea that this concept of time is important. As in, “my mom has been asking for time with us for the past 20 years, it’s sooooo obnoxious, it’s all she wants.” I’m not some paragon of sainthood, but I realize that my children will only live under my roof for a short period of time. I will always want more time with them, especially at Christmas, and I’m perfectly comfortable making them feel guilty as hell if I don’t get it. It’s all I’m asking for.

I just spoke with a colleague yesterday that hasn’t had their children all together for 10 years over the holidays. She wants time. There is a lovely young woman in our community that was just diagnosed with cancer. She wants more time, god, she deserves more, please.

Christmas is a magical time for some, for others they’d like to just get through it. It’s financially and socially stressful and is less a celebration of true love and selflessness than it is of consumerism. Grinchy, grinchity, grinch.

When it comes down to it though, our deepest wishes, the theme is often the same. You want more time, you were deprived of more time, or you haven’t found the right people you want to spend time with.

For all of you, dear readers, I hope your Christmas is filled with time. Time with the people that make you laugh till you cry, drive you insane, make you snort with derision, and fill your heart up. Find your tribe. Love them, fiercely. Merry Christmas, friends.

Keep sharing moxie.