I'm pretty brain dead tonight. We stayed up way too late last night, slept in until about 8:30 a.m, went running on the Jemison Trail around 10:00 a.m., hair cut and colored at 1:30, and lots of eating in between.
Birmingham has some fabulous eateries...all around the area, and we partake freely when we are here.
My mother has lived here as long as I've been married so we've built a list of favorites that would take a month to cover if we were determined to eat everywhere every trip.
This Christmas trip is in shifts...our days of having everyone in the same place at the same time for Christmas are probably over.
That's actually ok with me because I think we are better together when we don't try to force things.
Ed's family's time is Thanksgiving...and that's at our house...pure chaos but no gifts and plenty of room to move around. Kids can play outside and act like maniacs if they want.
My time with my brother and his family is usually summer vacation. We haven't tried to force Christmas in a long time.
Ed's mom finally realized this year that the giant Christmas with everyone hiding in the corners of the den with paper flying and kids tripped and screaming and everyone getting gifts just to get gifts is really just a waste...and that we could probably all enjoy Christmas with her a little more if we could spend a quiet afternoon or meal with her without the pressure of gifts for people we don't know.
My mom seems to have realized it too...although her Christmas has never been about chaos.
But my older daughters are young adults. I can't force them to be anywhere anymore.
I was lucky to have them at my house for 24 hours for Christmas.
And one day, I may have to let go of that.
Time passes and people change.
We move into new seasons and remember the past fondly or not so fondly.
I'm not sorry to see some traditions go...others, I remember with melancholy, but I truly don't wish them back.
One of my most favorite Christmas memories was when Whitney was a baby. She was born in August, so she was only 4 months old. She had woken up at 5 for a feeding and was asleep in my arms in front of the twinkling Christmas tree lights before anyone else woke up.
We just sat there together...her, warm and snuggly and content
me, warm and snuggly and content too.
I've always tried to find peace.
Quiet and contemplation.
Peace of mind.
Peace of environment.
Peace in my thoughts.
Peace in my actions.
Wherever I go, I want it.
Peace is elusive.
Or is it.
Could it be there the whole time...until we look hard enough for it.
Lara Casey says in the chapter I'm reading today that Jesus never said, "Follow your dreams" or "Follow your heart."
He simply said
Are we trying to force peace?
It's probably time for us to realize that's not going to happen.
Peace isn't forced.
It can't be.
Peace has to be a choice.
We make a choice even when we choose not to.
(My mother said this tonight in the car on the way back from dinner...I was full of pasta at the time and my brain felt mushy...but she's right.)
We all make choices.
I'm not in AA, but one of the steps of AA is to make amends to all those you've wronged.
I haven't wronged anyone per se...but I have not forgiven those who from my perspective have wronged me.
The high school soccer coach who belittled my daughter in public bc she didn't understand what a panic attack was...and who now goes to my church.
The English teacher who assumed I knew choices were being made and called me out on it...even though I naively but truly had no idea what was going on.
The boss who overlooked my husband in favor of his best friend.
The friends who were friends but are now not.
The girls who were not good friends to my girls growing up.
(I'm beginning to realize as I get older that my girls could very well be these girls for others as well).
The young men in my daughters' lives who've not treated them well.
I'm sure we all have these lists.
I've spent a lot of time disliking these people, maybe even hating them.
A lot of energy has been wasted on people from the past.
I look for peace, but in these circumstances I have chosen not to find it.
Going forward, I'm choosing Peace.
I can't do that by myself.
I have to choose Him.
That in itself will be choosing Peace.