Since last week, I’m happy to report that I’ve done some of the undone work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not like, organized for the holidays or anything (I have not purchased one single gift and am not sure when that’ll happen), but we did stuff, and I want to share it because this time of year is hard.
And if you did one thing? You did a thing and should celebrate that.
Because doing a thing is sometimes super hard, and there’s no time… so if you did a thing, yay. I did a thing, too.
Not doing The Things makes us feel like we don’t belong. Like, something’s wrong with us for not doing the things because of course, everybody else has DONE THE THINGS (except they are worried about it, too).
We feel like we don’t belong, because we haven’t done the things.
But you know what? Even when we feel like we don’t belong, we still belong to humans, and there are snowman towels to remind us that this is true and real.
Since last week, and feeling like I haven’t done any of the things, we’ve put up a tree and decorated it with lights, preschool projects, and dough ornaments made in 1980 by yours truly.
I strung lights outside and while they’re far from perfect, they’re more than a cluster of fairy lights hung from a plant holder in my room. In other words, a win (also, fairy lights hung from a plant holder are also a win).
Sure, there are still two bins full of random not-sure-what-to-do-with crap in the middle of the family room floor, but most of their contents are now scattered around the house, twinkling and reminding us of Christmas past while becoming Christmas now.
I glare at the bins in the middle of the floor, but the tree hasn’t fallen down and poked anybody’s eye out, and the fact that it’s dark at 4:47pm feels a little brighter because Christmas lights make us happy.
I mention the bins in the middle of the floor because the best moments are never appreciated until they’ve become a memory.
Sometimes, that memory is only minutes old, like tonight, when my eight-year-old saw a snowman towel in a bin, took it out, and hung it on the oven’s handle. Such a small thing, right?
And yet, it’s my biggest and best part of today because OMG he saw the snowman towel, picked it up, and hung it on the oven’s handle.
I was cooking dinner and said “Wow, thanks, Buddy!” but now, as I sit at the keyboard, I want to run upstairs and tell him how much that minute and his act means to me.
Except, that’d be weird, and he’d be like “ok, Mom…”
…Actually f*&k that. I’m going to go tell him.
Be right back to tell you what he says in reply.
(Kristi runs upstairs because this is important and also Kristi just spoke about herself in the third person which is probably worrisome and possibly a sign of a deeper issue that should probably be dealt with…)
So, he did say “okay,” but he smiled a little and hugged me. Another win.
His hug, and that he hung a dishtowel with a snowman on it on the oven’s handle makes me feel family.
It’s funny how the very best times we have, the moments we remember belonging are so often the unplanned ones.
The last minute “Want to come for dinner?” invites that you kick yourself for when you walk in the house and remember that it smells of eight-year-old-boy socks, Nerf guns, and Taco Bell.
But somehow, you forget the stress of shoving toys under the couch, the last-minute pizza order, and end up talking and laughing until your cheeks hurt.
You just connect.
Without saying it, you tell a friend “I see you,” and because of that, you see yourself.
It’s too easy to feel as if we don’t belong. As if there’s something wrong with us, other than that we’re human and being human is sometimes a little bit horrible.
To feel less than, to feel imperfect.
One of my best mama friends felt like she doesn’t belong anywhere, recently. It’s an easy feeling to find. Too easy, really.
Because, come ON! What we deal with in this human form, right?
The disrespect. The not being appreciated. The not appreciating.
The dark days of kids fighting and wanting and needing… it’s exhausting and hard, and who do we belong to in those moments?
In those moments, we belong to the unlit places within us that wonder why we’re here. Those moments suck.
But friends, we NEED those imperfect moments to love the levity in the lightest ones.
We need them to remember to laugh and play in the sun. To marvel at our kids who are both of us, and of something we may never understand.
We are imperfect.
But guess what? Everybody is.
Maybe, nobody ever feels like they belong outside of warmly lit belly laughs, accidental giggles and shared glances, and feeling like family because your eight-year-old son saw a snowman towel in a bin on the floor that should’ve been put away a week ago but wasn’t, took that towel, and hung it on your oven’s handle.
We win where we can.
We belong to each other, and to ourselves, and to our pasts of Vikings and Nomads and Tribes and forgotten languages.
We belong to Human, and to flawed, and to fabulous.
We belong to disastrous and gross and messy and forgetful.
We belong to our parents and to our children.
We belong to our communities, and to most of the world we’ll never meet.
We belong as advocates for special needs and equality in race, gender, and sexual orientation. We belong to make one another realize we’re not alone, even as we struggle with feeling alone.
It’s the holidays. Let’s all remember that we belong, even when it’s only to ourselves, our pasts, and the next thing we do. How we belong to the next five minutes could change the world, after all.
This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “When it comes to belonging…” and is brought to you by the super-fab Hillary of Hillary Savoie. Check her out. She’s incredible and so is her daughter.