I have taken my children caroling during every Christmas season for around twelve years now. I took them by myself most of that time. I took them when it was freezing outside. We went even if everyone promised they hated singing. We went even though I knew I would be singing a solo with a few back up singers in sections. We went because I know how much fun it is to feel the Holy Spirit as you sing praises on someone's doorstep and how it brings everyone the gift of music during Christmas time. You don't need money to go caroling, just a faithful heart and the courage to sing.
But, life as I know it has been crumbling around me for a very long time. I have had to learn survival tactics, such as recognizing when you just shouldn't do something--no matter how fun or fabulous it might have been--because you will be frazzled the whole time and then, it isn't really fun or fabulous anyway. So it is just better to cut your losses. That seems to be my new theme for life: Cut your losses and Keep your sanity.
Since Thanksgiving Day, I have been examining the calendar to fit in our annual caroling outing. I was even so bold as to schedule it on my all powerful calendar (if it's not on there, it does NOT happen). I have learned this past six months or so that sometimes, even when it gets on the calendar, things just can't happen. The entire Christmas season had nearly passed when I decided that Christmas Eve's Eve would be a perfect day to go, but then it couldn't work out again due to things going on. So, I decided that when I picked up my children on Christmas Night we would go caroling before heading into the house and commencing with Mom's Christmas.
Christmas day was a roller coaster (it's a long too-personal story) and as I approached home with my would-be carolers in the car, I knew we all needed to get in the house and just be happy. This executive decision was hard for me. I know, for anyone else, it is probably a no-brainer, but I love to go caroling. It bonds my children to me and them to my mother through me because I pass on the tradition she gave to me growing up. And it comforts me to feel like I am making her happy.
But I know I made the right choice even though I set myself up for having to tell my son I didn't forget.
In the short moment when deciding what to tell him, all that transpired throughout the month came to my mind in a flash, then I told him: I didn't forget. We couldn't because things have been too crazy. He immediately recognized the truth of the statement and acknowledged it with a You're right, mom. I think he might have heard more in my two sentences by reading the expression on my face.
He was quick to see the truth and I believe he would have been quick to see a lie also.
I learned some things this Christmas season. First, I make good choices (not always, but on a regular basis). Being able to see the effects of sound decision-making builds my confidence as a parent and person. Also, children know when parents are lying. They can tell when we are not quite telling them everything so they can have a surprise. They can tell when we offer them truth and that is what builds trust, love, and respect.
I also learned that everything will be alright if a tradition gets skipped once in awhile. My son who has been a professer of public singing hatred was the one who remembered about caroling.
Christmas will come again and we will be ready, with (jingle) bells on.
The Santa Conspiracy