Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Letting go

I keep sitting down to write about late December and finding myself talking about letting go. Not about letting go of Henry or sadness or even the actual stuff that he used (or didn't), not about that kind of letting go that I struggle with so much. This month has been about letting of my lists and expectations.

I let go of getting all the Christmas stuff out. The tree, Henry's tree, the stockings, wreaths on the doors. A red and green mat with a candle and some greens on the table. Enough.

I let go of baking Christmas cookies (and made just the chocolate orange cookies I love and kept them for myself).

I let go of sending out Christmas cards and with it the struggle for both the "perfect" picture and a way to include Henry that felt right to me.

I let go of the idea (dream) of fixing up my old dollhouse for Kathleen for Christmas. Instead I latched on to her sudden and unexpected idea of having a toy toaster. Whenever people ask her if she had a good Christmas, she (unless she is taking a turn at being shy), says, "I got a toaster!" And I smile.

My jams and pickles are still sitting on the futon in my office, sticky notes designating where they are going. They still need to be packed and mailed or wrapped and delivered. I've doled out a few as I've seen people, but I let go of getting them all out in time for Christmas.

I'm not usually good at this, this letting of of to-do lists and trying to do far too much. Even when I try, I do so grudgingly and keep looking at all the things I want to be able to do. This year, like the year when I was pregnant with Henry and so tired, I really let go of all these things and took joy in tossing my undone list in the recycling. Some of that thinking and talking about prioritizing over the summer must have sunk in.

One more holiday celebration (and I am remembering the final project I wanted to do, that maybe I can pull off tonight, or maybe I'll decide to let go of . . . hmm, it would make a good birthday gift for my dad. Yep, just crossed that off the list) and then we settle in for winter. I'm looking forward to the slow down that seems like it should come after the bustle of the holidays, because they are busy, even when you let go and toss out your lists.


  1. I don't think I'm where you're at yet, but that makes sense, I'm 12 months behind you. I am certainly striving to be in a place like this next year.

  2. Sally, I definitely feel like a world away from last December. I hope Angus and Juliet light your way as Kathleen and Elizabeth have mine.

  3. Well, as I read your words here and elsewhere, I'm often awed by how much of your to-do lists that you must be ticking off! I'm lucky if everyone is fed and clean and the house looks just about passable. No pickling or jamming or cookie baking around here!

    But I do have high expectations of myself, of life. And that can crush you in the end I think? Squashes all the joy out of what you are achieving because you always have an eye on the next item on the list? Sometimes it is better to let go of things that are nice but not necessarily important? I feel like I must be constantly interacting with Jessica or I am letting her down. But she doesn't want constant interaction and planned activities and I find that I can't maintain it!

    The pieces of this post I like best are Kathleen and her toaster and the retaining of the chocolate orange cookies. For some reason that really made me smile and cry and I don't know quite know why but I'm so glad that you made them and kept them for yourself, you deserve them xoxo

  4. I'm happy you kept those cookies. I bakes ones to keep just for myself, too--and I need to keep this post handy because you've inspired me to tap into the notion that it's enough. Because it is. I think you are amazing all the way around.