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Is the holiday season more bummer than bliss?

This article is an invitation. It’s an invitation to do things differently, to reconsider what’s “always been done,” to rethink what's important, to relax about the things that aren’t getting done, and to create something that’s perfect for you.

Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, it’s impossible to ignore the fact it's happening soon. (In some stores it’s been happening since October.) While the music, the special food, the parties, the gift giving, and the decorations suggest it’s going to be a magical time, the reality is that this isn’t always the experience people have: which is often true of special occasions.

It's human nature to imagine that grand, social media worthy moments are more special than ordinary moments, but for me, it’s the relaxed, intimate moments that I tend to carry closest to my heart. These moments don’t require careful planning, or excessive spending, they don’t require fancy outfits, or a painstakingly curated guest list. The only requirements are openness and presence. Below I’ve shared an extra-ordinary moment I had this month. My wish for you is that your holiday season is filled with extra-ordinary moments that carry you happily into the New Year... “I love you very, very much” I said. It was midnight and pitch black outside. The only light in my bedroom was coming from the display on my phone. My husband had gone to sleep hours before and was breathing with deep heavy exhales on his side of the bed. I was sitting up, propped against a large, wedge-shaped foam pillow. I was dressed in black velvet sweatpants and a long-sleeve blue T-shirt. I was still wearing my purple cat-eye glasses even though I don’t need them to see up close. On my nightstand sat my eyeglasses case, a large chunk of pink quartz from a trip to Utah, a lancet needle for taking blood, a wooden stand for charging my phone, and a bright yellow coaster which has “I’ll have a cafe-mocha vodka-valium latte, to go please” printed on it. The intense light coming from my phone had killed my night vision, so I couldn’t see my husband’s nightstand on the other side of our bed. Our eleven year old daughter was sitting beside me, snuggled against my left arm with her head leaning on my shoulder. Her waist length blonde hair was showered around us; it blended with my no-longer-so-blonde, no-longer-so-long hair. She smelled like outside, like earth and pine, with just a hint of her Pantene conditioner underneath it all. Her perfect-as-a-bow pink lips were relaxed with the the corners curled up a touch. She still had on her black mascara and white shimmer eye shadow which matched the black leggings, and the fuzzy white shirt she’d worn all day. It’s her habit to wear her daytime clothes to bed. I haven’t chosen her clothes, or dressed her, since she was three. It was then that she'd made it very clear she could do these things all by herself! I still can’t believe how the years have flown, it’s so cliche, but so true. Pretty soon she'll be six-feet tall like I am, maybe taller; she already wears a woman’s size-ten shoe. My pin-tucked, green duvet hid our feet though and was pulled up over our laps. The house was warm enough, but outside it was snowing and well below freezing, so there was a cool whisper of air coming down from the skylight over our heads. My daughter, blessed with the heat of youth, was warm and comforting against me: there’s nothing else like that in the world. Her hand rested on my leg, and both of us had our eyes glued to my phone. I was playing a gem matching game that I get sucked into now and then when life feels overwhelming. Games are my daughter's thing, especially when they’re on devices. I would have been bored to tears watching someone else play, but she’d been tucked-in beside me for at least half an hour. Of course she was also wise to the fact that by hanging out with me I wouldn’t send her down to her bed. “I know you love me mom. You tell me ALL the time. Besides, isn’t that just what parents do?” She said as she rolled her eyes like only a tween can do. She snuggled closer, I smiled and kissed the top of her head.

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