Making space for a pause

We came home from our Thanksgiving travels late on Saturday evening. Sunday we all slept in, in our own beds, and let the day unfold at a leisurely pace. Lucas brought me tea in bed, as he's wont to do recently, steaming and perfectly steeped for two minutes. 

Later in the day I went down to the basement and found a big green Rubbermaid bin, the kind that stacks and looms in corners collecting dust until their annual pilgrimage upstairs. The kids squealed {yes, squealed, at 10 and 12 years old!} when they saw it in the dining room. 

We tore into it and found all of the non tree related Christmas decorations. Nativity scenes, holiday themed books, jingle bells, and the quilted stockings my mother made us all. We've lived in this home for long enough that the kids know exactly where to put each decoration, they know what spaces need to be created in order to make room for trinkets and nutcrackers alike. 

It was early, I know. Not even December, not even Advent, and the plastic angel nightlight from my childhood now sits in my bedroom window. But it felt  necessary. Not because of keeping up with Instagram or Pinterest, but for the pause. 

I wanted to put up the decorations for the pause it affords us during our days: to stop and kiss under the mistletoe, to marvel over creations handmade by the kids when their palms could have fit neatly into mine twice over, to light the candles before dinner and tell the story of how Lucas's mother gave the glass star shaped holders to us years ago, and the memories they hold.

There is much I say no to leading up to this time of year in order to protect the pauses. And it's worth it, as every single no results in a more meaningful yes later on. Whether it's to a planned outing or a night in watching movies or being able to say yes to a last minute opportunity that wouldn't have been afforded otherwise, the yes I utter is unwavering. 

More than anything, the pause is what I crave this time of year. It holds the magic that happens when you least expect it, like in the early morning hours with a mug of tea and twinkle lights and a child, half asleep, who wandered downstairs in search of mama snuggles. 

If not for the pauses, so many sweet moments and memories would be missed. I'm not willing to let that happen in the name of a Perfect Holiday Bucket List, spending money we don't have on things we don't need and manufactured memories that everyone else has simply because it's what we do. No, I'll take the pauses, and the quiet, and the mismatched ornaments on the always lopsided tree, and the laughter that comes with an imperfectly perfect holiday season. 

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