No tree. No lights.
No wrapping paper or gifts (from mom or dad, at least).
And, this year, no snow…
Which is, as my 4 year-old son declared to his dad this morning, the sole factor dictating whether this “quintessential” winter holiday can happen (especially for us Michigan natives): “It’s not Christmas because it’s not snowing!”
The Zen(x)Mas Way
“Buddha Blessings + Merry Christmas!” My sister, in all her silliness, affected a sacchrine, almost-pious, and breathy tone when I answered her call this morning. (I could tell she’d been cackling to herself while rehearsing this greeting in her twisted head.) We immediately burst into laughter!
Our families know that we are staunchily against the holiday madness that often prevails in the seemingly endless weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. We’ll watch the holiday-themed movies and generate some cheer over food and drinks in the company of loved ones but make no extra effort to aggrandize the occasion. We enjoy participating in the low-key Christmas Eve dinner with my mates’ family and then spending time with mine on Christmas Day. But in the years since our son’s birth (not to forget, the multiple back-to-back births of his cousins on both sides), the holiday festivities have thankfully and decidedly been downsized. Cause ain’t nobody got time or energy for all that!
Our inter-spiritual household of three lives by and cultivates the ethic of simplicity. While my dharma practice is a cornerstone in our foundation for being, the plain truth of it is, in heart and soul, we are just not traditional when it comes to many things.
So (since we live knee-deep in Legos and other construction sets year-round) this greeting card was a perfectly awesome way of letting our more “observant” loved ones know we were thinking of them as they celebrate!
Wishing you a happy, healthy and Lego-tastic holiday and a new year full of unimaginable adventures!
[Disclaimer: Ironhide is K’s newly-adopted imaginary pet. We DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT have a dog, as several have wondered. We’re keeping life super simple that way!]
I love witnessing these spontaneous moments of sweetness between my mate + our son…especially, when it arises after a bit of rough-housing!
We are an affectionate family so our days are truly full of cuddles and kisses. But some of these tender exchanges are simply too adorable to leave to memory alone. So I have to convince my boys to “do it again” or “stay
right there” to capture and savor the image later!
We were standing in the grocery aisle when K said it. I turned to look at my not-quite-four-year-old son and, with disbelief, asked, “What did you say?”
“I’m bored, Mommy,” he repeated. “I’m not having any fun right now.”
My jaw dropped as if K had actually uttered that other 5-lettered curse word. Seriously, how did he even learn about the concept of boredom when it’s not in my vocabulary?! (The answer popped up between my silent bouts of huffing and teeth-sucking: TV or D-A-D, of course!)
After I recovered from the shock, I assured him that I understood shopping wasn’t his top choice of activities (despite his previous excitement over getting to cruise around in the plastic car attached to the shopping cart). Then I immediately told K he was not allowed to be bored! Seriously. He’s too young and imaginative: this child of mine who nearly goes into a trance over the simple joy of pushing his fleet of cars around the bed for hours on end—molding the sheets and blankets into mountains, ramps, and parking lots.
I mean, have mercy on your dear mom—a/k/a your human jungle gym, running buddy, puzzle partner, play date coordinator, and master problem solver who does her best to engage you in stimulating activities to help you burn energy and learn new/interesting things. This is no small feat on a regular day. Now add the relentless surge of winter storms from the Polar Vortex, which has limited the time we can play in the snow, and the battle against cabin fever can become excruciating. Oh, and, mustn’t forget to multiply it by occasional bouts of must-have-Mommy-by-my-side-at-all-times. EXHALE.
Since then K has tossed out the b-word a few more times. Thankfully, it’s only taken a little bit of quizzing about his ideas and feelings to divert the restlessness toward a satisfying creative outlet. But, man! I had really hoped we would have a few more years before our kid started complaining about boredom.
K took one look at his plate and exclaimed that the noodles looked like the picture in the book where you puke! He was so excited to show me and dashed upstairs to grab How The Incredible Human Book Works so we could, he suggested, “compare.”
K is forever pulling out my yoga mat to “exercise” or spontaneously busting a yoga pose. We love Legs-Up-The-Wall (Viparita Karani), especially when settling down for bed. So today I thought it be fun to enlist his help (and stave off cabin fever) to create a fun photo to include in an announcement about my class cancellation.
One of the first things my son likes to do each morning is look at the sky to see if it’s dark or sunny.
Through our east-facing windows, he gazed at the cloudy gray light–naked tree branches casting straggly black figures against the vastness–and beckoned me to look. No sun.
From another room, I spied the luminous moon, now two days past full, brightening the Western skies and excitedly called him over.
It’s not shining very brightly, Mommy. Not like the Sun.
Not quite. The Moon has a different kind of light.*
*(Yes, I laughed as soon as I heard myself! Creative parenting spawns a tendency toward singing, rhyming and making everything into a game. All in the name of teaching and learning.)
Ah, the magic of enjoying a few moments alone, nurturing myself in nature, after a run at a local park!
I walk barefoot through the gardens still soaked with last night’s rain, alternately massaging my soles on lush grass and gravelly cement.
Breathing in the fragrances of the earth, I imagine new flowers blooming beneath each footstep and bow with deepest gratitude to the four directions.