Saturday, December 21, 2013

Where's My Christmas Card?

As we are quickly approaching Christmas Day, my mailbox continues to flood with the loveliest of Christmas cards from so many of our dearest friends.  Receiving Christmas cards each year is one of the things I look forward to most.  I love seeing the creativity behind a Christmas photo shoot and seeing how families and kids have grown each year.  And I absolutely LOVE having my own photo shoot and designing our personal Christmas card each year!  Throughout the entire Fall season I've been dreaming up and envisioning what our card would look like this year and I was so excited to proudly display BOTH of my babies on the card....last year we were just a family of 3 and now we are 4!!  Yay!!!!

It's amazing how much can change in just 1 year.  It's been an exciting year for us with sweet Pierce joining our family.  It's also been a challenging year between having a rough pregnancy, his miraculous delivery, adjusting to being a mommy of 2, Ava starting kindergarten and having homework and spelling tests every week, being a wife and stay at home mom who also happens to have a photography business and some amazing clients that have kept my schedule joyfully packed.  I just wrapped up my last pre-Christmas photo session last weekend and rushed to get it edited so I could try to coast into Christmas with a clean slate and the hope of being pressure-free.  Yet, all the while, a photo shoot with Ava and Pierce and the designing of our Christmas card still loomed over my head.

I've been doing a quick photo shoot with Pierce every month for his baby book (don't ask if I've printed any!) and he turned 6 months old on December 15th so I dropped everything else on my "to do" list and did a quick session with him and Ava last week.  That may sound easy enough to you....but.....when you're a perfectionist of a human being/photographer, it's never quite so simple.  Session completed but there's still the culling process and then the editing process and while one thing gets accomplished there's always something else, somewhere, that falls behind.  Laundry.  Dishes.  A clean house.  Grocery shopping.  Christmas shopping.  And so on.

Could I have gotten a Christmas card designed with a quick snapshot of the kids and a sweet little Christmas wish perfectly centered in a pretty font on the back?  Yes.  Could I have gotten them ordered and delivered to my doorstep this week?  Yes.  Could I have gotten them addressed, stamped and dropped in the mailbox by today?  Yes.  Would I have missed out on doing Christmas crafts with Ava?  Yes.  Would I have missed extra snuggles and giggles with Pierce?  Yes.  Would I have missed Ava's Christmas party at school?  Yes.  Would I have missed Christmas shopping with Jordan?  Yes.  Would I have missed these memories in order to send all of our precious family and friends a Christmas card that you would have only enjoyed for maybe 3 days?  Yes.  And every time I pondered what mattered most to me in this season, right now, the hustle and bustle and stress to follow tradition fell short.  Way, way, way, way short.

As I type this, I glance around my living room to find a half decorated mantle that is nowhere near what I wanted it to be because I never had the time to make the pretty burlap banner I had wanted to or make a pretty garland from fresh Frasier Fir branches.  The very top portion of our Christmas lights on the tree went out a few days ago and we haven't changed them out and won't at this point.  Pierce has a stocking that doesn't match the rest of ours because I never got around to making new ones like I wanted.  But in this very moment, there is peace and stillness, not only in my house and not just because the babies are asleep, but it's nestled down inside me because I've chosen to not fret over things I can't change or things that matter less than what I cherish and value most in my life.  My family.  I would rather Ava remember that I sat down in a tiny little chair right next to hers in her classroom.  I'd rather remember the excitement on her face when I made it to her party on time.  I'd rather remember all the fun of our first Christmas as a family of four than fill my heart and my home with anxiety and tension over what I "thought" this Christmas should "look" like.  And I'd rather share my love with all of you here, in this blog post, just so you know that you weren't forgotten or wonder how you didn't make my "card cut" this year.  No one did.  But it wasn't because you weren't loved or that we didn't think of you.  We've thought of EACH one of you and we want YOUR Christmas to be filled with what matters MOST, too - the ones you love most!

I'll cross my fingers and challenge myself to be ahead of the game next year because I do want to share in the card giving again!  It just didn't happen this year and I'm thankful that I know you understand.  :o)

I wouldn't dare leave you without some cuteness so please enjoy a few of my favorites from the photo shoot last week.  :o)

From our happy little family of 4 to your precious family...

(and Jordan, Ava and Pierce, too)

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