The past four and a half months have been unusually busy for Nik and me. I participated in a major project at church, which consumed just about every minute I could spare at the computer (including the evening hours when I normally would have been sewing). Right around the time that ended (at the end of September), my other responsibilities at church became fairly all-consuming (at least of my computer time) and that meant that my sewing time really dwindled to nothing. In the meantime, through a perfect storm of new responsibilities at work compounded by some other negative things, Nik was also forced to work many more hours than usual. Things are generally calmed down now but for too many months, it felt like we were just running, running, running and never catching up.
For a couple hours during the day we were supposed to leave for our weekend up in western NY in October, I thought we were going to have to cancel our trip and my first thought was, “Oh GOOD, we can stay home so I can get more work done.” Really? Is that healthy? To be glad to cancel a trip to see one of my closest friends who I haven’t visited in years? Just so I can get more work done at home?
Looking back on this crazy time now, there are many ways in which I know I could have asked for help, said no, delegated, lowered my expectations of myself, and done less. I hope I’ve learned my lesson there.
One thing, right now, however, that I am mourning is the lack of sewing I was able to get done for this Christmas. Usually by now, I not only have all our Christmas presents sewn (or close to done) but I’ve even photographed, written, and scheduled the blog posts about them. Look! Handmade Christmas! How great! This year, along with all our busyness, the kids and I also took an unexpected trip to Alaska to see my family. There were several reasons, both happy and sad, calling me home. We left on 12/6 and got back home on 12/14. I’m so glad we went and it was really wonderful to spend that time with my family, especially during the Christmas season. That week away, combined with the week that it took us to recover from the brutally-long trip back (if anyone asks you if a six-hour layover in Seattle in the middle of the night is going to be fun, tell them no), plus the loss of this weekend to a stomach bug, has meant that I’ve done almost no sewing in December.
Today I had to acknowledge that I’m not going to be able to start, much less finish, Ellie’s present. I don’t even have the fabric for it. So I’ll wrap up the book that has the project in it, tell her that she can help me choose the fabric, we’ll order it together, sew it together, and it will be OK (probably even more fun for her). But I’m still really sad about not being able to give it to her on Christmas morning. It feels like I’ve failed her, although I know her precious, 4-year-old heart won’t see it that way.
Every night, before we get down from the dinner table, each of the four of us take turns saying what we’re grateful for. Last night, I told my family (in not so many words) that I was grateful to have been reminded this Christmas that ultimately, it’s not the presents or the perfect house or the perfectly decorated cookies that matter.
And now I’m off to attempt to finish Mark’s present so I can at least have one finish under the tree this Christmas.