I had pulled it all off, I wanted to give myself a pat on the back, and put my aching feet up to rest, but I realized, that through it all, I forget to stop to “smell the flowers”. The flowers for me at Christmas time are what I call Sparkly Eyes. If you stop at the right moments, and put all that work aside, you’ll get a moment that makes it all worth while.
I remember once years ago, I had a terrible, desperate-feeling, panic-inducing thought around 11 a.m. on Christmas Day. I, for a moment, had entertained the fact that one day I wouldn’t always have a child young enough to still exude that awesome, jumping-out-of-their-skin-with-excitement Christmas energy. I realized that I better not miss that energy while I have it. I better soak up every minute of that magic while it’s here, in my house, because one day it will have disappeared.
Sparkly Eyes are almost always found in the little moments...not the big manufactured ones. They require you to be still, to put all else aside and pay attention...to be fully present.
If you look you will find them.
Maybe it’s when the Advent calendar is pulled out of the attic and the countdown begins.
Or when you take the time to peer out the window at bedtime and spot elf tracks in the snow.
It could be when you watch your child pick a name from the Angel Tree at church, and she comes back to you excited that she found the perfect match. (Which happens to be a baby girl who needs a doll. Yessss!)
Maybe it’s that first year after Santa doesn’t look so scary anymore to your little toddler, and she peers at him with wonder instead of sobbing.
The child presenting a gift that was slaved over with glue and glitter, wrapped with half a roll of tape.
When that perfect gingerbread man is proudly created amidst the mess of cookie cutter and sprinkles.
Or that first glance down the stairs, around the corner, under the Christmas tree early Christmas morning…Santa really came. (The photo above is my Andrew's first glimpse in the wee hours of the morning.)
I try to take the time and stop and stare at these little precious faces now. Life is too short, and if you need proof of this, look at last year's Christmas picture. They'll only be little so long. The rest of that stuff that occupies our brain and time, it’s important of course…we moms manage it all every year, whether it’s with proper planning or by the skin of our teeth..
...but the Sparkly Eyes moments make it all worth it, it's a gift back to us for sure, and the best kind us moms can receive.
We are left with memories of the magic and spirit and joy of Christmas, created in our homes, treasured in our hearts forever.