Sunday, December 20, 2015

Magic

It's 5 days until Christmas, and the season has gone quicker than I ever remember it going before.
I have been trying desperately to get into the "Christmas Spirit", but for whatever reason it hasn't been easy this year.

So far I think one of my favorite Christmas activities this year was Christmas caroling.
The Dude absolutely loved it, and I loved watching him.
He sang so seriously, with his mouth a perfect "o" during the Gloria part of Angels We have Heard on High. Swaying in usual carried-away-by-the-music fashion, especially to what he referred to as "his song", Silent Night. I could just eat him up.
I enjoyed the singing part too, since music isn't a big part of my life anymore, but is still such a big part of my heart.
Greystoke was a little in awe of the whole thing, but he was glad to be in the arms of his Papa.
A few nights ago we went to the Space Coast Lightfest for the usual hayride through the lights, but they hiked the price so high that we ended up just driving through.
With one stop to see Santa.
As usual, the older boys refused to come anywhere near Santa. Like frightened wild animals, they darted forward, grabbed their candy canes, and backed quickly out of the room.
Greystoke didn't get off so easily.
I had to get the traditional McVicker-baby-crying-in-Santa's-lap photo.
We enjoyed the lights in the car, though it wasn't quite the same as the hayride.
Friday I let the boys both skip school. Aquaman's class was having a Polar Express party, and he is scared of that movie. We sat under the tree and read Lego Ninjago books, because that is the closest I could get them to doing anything Christmasish. They're not into Christmas books like I used to be. Sigh.
It's hot this year....been in the mid 80s almost every day until it finally cooled down yesterday. But it's going right back up. And maybe that's why it kind of feels like Christmas has snuck up on us. Or maybe it just always feels that way.
This would have been the best picture ever but something was on my lens....
Judah had his Christmas show at school. He was quite the singing angel.
Greystoke has been sick again, with croup and then another ear infection. But all things considered we have really done pretty well this season. Aquaman seems to be starting to age out of all the fevers, and has barely even had a cold this season. I shouldn't actually write this down, since a healthy Christmas would be nice....

Last week I took the boys to Christmas on the Parkway....an event in Merritt Island where a church brings in snow and lets the kids have snowball fights and slide down a huge toboggan hill.

The boys were so excited about the snow that they didn't even drive me that crazy waiting in the loooong lines for everything.

It's been a fun couple of weeks, this is such a wonderful time of the year. JT has been working too much still, and I've been tired and a little sad. I've spent a little time dreaming about what I would like for my birthday....an entire day of no one asking anything of me. No dropping anyone off of school, no making anyone lunch. I would like to lay in bed most of the day, and when I get tired of that I want to take a long, totally silent walk on the beach.
364 days of the year I embrace the noise and the chaos and the fun of being a mom of 3 boys. But 1 day a year, I would like to be totally alone. I am really going to try to make that happen.
In the meantime, I am finding ways to take care of myself without JT's help since most of the time I don't have it. I call it "nurturing my soul", borrowed from Sally Clarkson's book "Own Your Life" which I just read and mostly enjoyed.
I only mostly enjoyed it because at times it made me feel a little annoyed.
Sally's children are grown, and she likes to talk about how well they turned out, and how that is because she was so intentional in parenting them.
But there is a cynical part of me that knows that sometimes you can parent children to the best of your ability, and they will still choose their own way. And sometimes I want to tell her that.
 I know she is just trying to be encouraging. 
But she also talks a lot about making your dinner table inviting. Lighting candles and putting on pleasant instrumental music.
And to be honest, as much as I would like a peaceful dinner, that is a pipe dream in my house. In my house, JT only eats with us about once a week because he is either at work or Trinity Fitness. It is me and 3 boys with our broken table, and barely enough chairs, and an oldest little boy who complains about everything I give him unless it is buttery pasta. I have to remind them 30 times to use their silverware and remember to sit down in their seats, and not to shout, and by the time it is all over my nerves feel completely shot and I wonder what is so great about a family meal.
But nurturing my soul, I do understand. Putting the oxygen mask on your own face first, that part I am beginning to make a bigger priority. Sometimes when the older 2 are at school and the little one is sleeping, I light a candle and turn on Christmas music while I clean the bathrooms, and sometimes that is enough to turn my whole day around.

Sister time helped a lot too.
Aunt K brought Christmas ornaments for the boys to paint.



Greystoke was so inspired that he used our brand new door as a crayon canvas while I was taking a shower and thought he was watching Barney.....thank goodness for Magic Eraser.
And our favorite tradition....making Christmas cookies.
Over the years we have developed quite a system for it.
And last night, Aquaman declared it his favorite Christmas tradition, since he's decided that the previously named boat parade is not exciting anymore.
Apparently to hold his attention, traditions must involve colored sugar.
Aquaman has suddenly become a teenager, and I think that has been the most difficult part of this season for me. I thought elementary school kids were supposed to be fun and happy about the Christmas season, but he has bah humbugged over the whole thing. He complains so loudly when I turn on Christmas music that I end up just turning it off. He unplugs the Christmas tree. Christmas caroling hurt his ears and smelled bad. Judah's program was "dumb". The snow was ok, but the lines were too long. The boat parade was boring.
He is only happy sitting at home playing Legos.
And don't even get us started about school. I am so happy we get a break from that for a couple of weeks, though it means more time of his walking restlessly throughout the house wondering what to do with himself. He just can't seem to get comfortable inside of himself, and it's one of the first extended times in my motherhood in which I cannot seem to help him. It almost seems to make him angrier when I try.
I have come to the conclusion that the main culprit is anxiety, but when I met with his teacher to ask him to back off on pressuring him, he didn't seem to agree. He thinks that Aquaman is not trying, and he doesn't get that Aquaman is not trying on his schoolwork because it is much easier not to try and miss perfection than to admit to anyone that he simply can't be perfect.
He is in the process of having testing done by a private psychologist and I am hoping more formal recommendations will get through to the teacher.
He passed the initial gifted screening, but has a more extended test in February. He also completed his IQ testing with the psychologist. He said they asked him to draw a tree and he drew a trapezoid and said the tree had been cut down.
I wonder if he loses or gains points for that?
I love this boy.
He is so unique and beautiful and has so much potential. And that is why I am not willing to let him flounder through it alone. This is only the beginning of what will be a long road for him. The pressures of life will increase, but so will his ability to manage it. But I believe in being proactive.
I was, quite honestly, a negative child too. I spiraled down quickly and became hopeless. And there are days I still struggle like anyone else. But I believe all those struggles I had as a child are what helped me become an overcomer today, and I have that hope for him. But I don't think you can get there without facing it, and I also don't think you can get there without a lot of deep dark days.
It is one of the first of many times that I have to help him the best I can and then place him in the hands of the Father who loves him more than I do. He has good plans for him, I know that.

I ran into last year's teacher a couple days ago and she asked how he was doing. When I told her, she said "Oh poor Aquaman! He is such a brilliant little boy", and I could have hugged her. My mom heart needed to hear that. Not "he's fine. He'll get through it." Not, "he's a total mess."

 Just, he's a brilliant boy who is hurting right now.
He's a diamond in the rough.
We all are.
And now we head out into our Sunday. JT has the day off, but he'll need to sleep a while since he worked from 9 am to 2 am yesterday...luckily our church has a 1 pm service today.

Off to breathe in the magic.
I was watching one of my favorite childhood Christmas movies with the boys yesterday, and I found myself getting tears in my eyes at the magic of Santa. I laughed at myself for a moment until I thought about it and realized that the reason the world is so captivated by Santa is because we all need to believe in something bigger than ourselves, something beautiful, and someone who loves us generously and wants to bless us.
My kids can't really get into Santa because I have always told them that he is just fun to pretend, but they don't see the point.
But the real story of Christmas is so much more beautiful and magical anyway.
Not a a fat man dressed in a creepy suit sneaking into our houses if his elves report that we have been mostly nice all year.
But a baby wrapped in cloths sneaking into our hearts because we have nothing nice inside of us on our own and He wants to save us.
That's the Christmas magic I'll be holding onto this week.

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