This Christmas season was different for Jimmy and I than the others we have spent together. Usually, our Christmases are full of trips to North Park and fancy dinners with our children, a date to the Dallas Symphony, lots of shopping with the children,etc. etc... However, this year we had to do things a little different and it was not an easy adjustment for either of us.....
I guess we are finally experiencing the "pinch" of having all these babies at once. Let me just tell you right now, when you have four children (three of them under the age of three) you are suddenly very limited in your social outings. It is VERY hard to get children that age to sit quietly at our own dinner table, much less a public dinner out. Have you ever tried to take four children to the mall...a single stroller, a double stroller and one little boy with the energy of ten and some seriously strong lungs?? =)Oh and the list of difficult public outings goes on and on.
What about a babysitter? Well this is something we do occasionally but this being the Christmas season we want to spend it as a family not farming our children out to babysitters so we can enjoy the season without them. Of course even in the case of babysitters time is limited due to having a nursing baby so things like the symphony will have to wait till next year. This was our first year not to go to the symphony for Christmas in 5 years and admittedly it was sad but on the other hand it was missed with a greater good in mind.
We all know parenting requires sacrifice but it seems for Jimmy and I we are in a season of serious sacrifice when it comes to our children. It seems as though we are sacrificing a lot right now... a lot of the things WE want to do. But, as we do this we are finding that our lives are being enriched through giving of ourselves for these small people. Life is never truly fulfilling when living only for yourself and we are finding that parenting many little ones is the antithesis of living for yourself.
Contentment is being taught to our hearts right now... and we are learning slowly but surely. Probably more slowly but nonetheless we are getting there. We are learning to be content with simple nights spent by the Christmas tree talking as a family.... YEAH RIGHT... more like Jimmy and I trying to shout conversation across the room to each other while children run and play around us. Conversation stopping every five minutes to answer a question, get someone a drink of water, change a diaper, get something someone can't reach, break up a fight (it is always Serene and Ben), etc. etc.
I started this Christmas season with the expectation of Christmas looking like it always has for us. I got about half way into the season and went through an irritated angry phase trying to figure out what we could do to get "our usual Christmas" back. I ended the season with a new perspective on what life looks like for us now and how I can embrace the change and the difference and find new ways to celebrate this amazing time of year.
With each child we have I find myself a little less interested in me and my "rights" and a little more interested in the broader eternal picture of life. There will come a day when my children will grow bigger and I will have that "usual" Christmas season back but I don't want to lose all the years in between hoping for them to pass quickly so I can get back to what I want to do. Instead, I'm trying to embrace these years, not just making the best out of a "bad" situation but making these the best years of our life so far.