Every Sunday morning I share a moment from my week and something it taught me or illustrated about motherhood, family life, or simply being a human. I invite you to set aside a moment out of your weekend for rest and reflection, pour yourself a comforting beverage, and join me for Sunday Morning Tea. -Meagan
Well, this is it, folks. Vacation is officially at an end. And even if you’re one of those for whom school and/or work has been preemptively cancelled due to the impending winter storms, I’m guessing the break has begun wearing thin, yes?
For me, this break was delightfully relaxed, filled with family and food and togetherness and lounging on the sofa and eating and drinking and making merry.
We had family guests for the better part of two weeks, and on New Year’s Eve – after an epic five-hour dance party – a total of twenty-four people slept under my roof: my brothers and sister and eight million kids, it sometimes seemed like, though it was really closer to a dozen.
So you’ll understand why I wasn’t around much. Winter break is the one time of year I really check out of work, skimming my email, pulling way back on content, and only checking in with Facebook to post funny pictures of my kids playing with their gifts or dancing with their cousins.
At some point, though, we have to get back to “real life” – and sometimes getting back to business can be a bumpy proposition.
On Friday I finally set aside some time to pay attention to work, and realized that I’d, uh, missed a few things. Like turning in a contract, or responding to a client’s email, or remembering to write anything, anything at all, for the upcoming week. (Whoops.)
I also realized that in late December voting started on the Parents Magazine Social Media Awards – for which The Happiest Home was selected as a finalist in the “Best All Around” category alongside some pretty amazing company. I’d been thrilled to find out that we were finalists shortly before break, but somehow missed how soon the voting would be starting.
And while I’m not a huge fan of “vote for me!” contests to begin with (I’ve learned that one the hard way), Parents is so well respected, and it was such an unexpected honor to selected, that I really wanted us to make a good showing.
So as you can imagine, when I realized I’d missed a full two weeks of opportunity to spread the word to readers and friends and anyone else who might want to support us with a click, I felt…well, bummed and disappointed and mad at myself all come to mind.
But you know what? I can’t always throw myself into every single opportunity, every single time. Sometimes, life comes first. And while it would have been nice to let people know about the contest sooner, no one award (or contract, or sale, or email) is going to make or break my success.
I may not have been getting much work done over the last couple of weeks, but I was productive in a different way. I spent a lot of time spreading crackers and cheese on platters and washing dishes. I spent a lot of energy making sure guests had towels and bedding and a clean toilet. I spent a lot of time refilling glasses (including my own.) I spent a lot of time singing and playing cards and laughing, always laughing.
In our day to day lives, it’s not always easy to just be where we are: all of our pieces in one place, instead of physically in the present but mentally in the future. But sometimes, we get the opportunity to be very focused on whatever it is we’re doing, whether it’s a yoga workshop or an uninterrupted morning of writing or sharing a glass of wine with a friend.
Big family gatherings are my favorite example of being just where I am. They are the place I feel most present, most content, and most myself. And every year, I am very glad I get to be in that happy, present place, spending time with my favorite people in the world…even if it means I miss a few other things at the same time.
There are very few true work emergencies, very few things that matter as much as a day spent in the company of the people you love. That doesn’t mean that our work is unimportant, and obviously we can’t spend every day like it’s Christmas break, (as we all re-learn every year, the novelty would wear off at some point anyway.)
But we can make a point to really be there when we’re there, can’t we? To be wherever it is we are, even though it sometimes means swallowing down our Fear Of Missing Out, and just as often, actually does mean missing out.
Because as it turns out, missing out is a part of life. And it’s not really something to fear, is it? Much worse to try to be everywhere and do everything, and to realize that you weren’t really doing any of it, ever.
We can’t really be in two places at the same time. But we can laugh when it’s time to laugh, and talk when it’s time to talk, and eat when it’s time to eat.
And when it’s time – like after a nice, leisurely break, we can roll up our sleeves and get back to work.
Happy 2014, everyone! I’m looking forward to a great year with all of you.
PS: If you feel moved to, you can still vote for The Happiest Home in the Best All Around category for the Parents Social Media Awards. Voting lasts until January 13, is super easy (no need to register or provide an email address) and you can vote every day. Either way, I’m grateful for you!