The countdown is on–in two weeks Thanksgiving will be over and the march towards Christmas will be a few steps forward. That is, if you are old-fashioned and wait until after Thanksgiving to start the Christmas season. More and more people are doing Christmas earlier and earlier, which in my mind, just makes it feel old and tired before it even arrives.
In my young days, when I decorated and did festive holiday things, Christmas came out two weekends before the actual day. I had time on the weekends to do the decorating because I was off from work. When I was teaching, I always waited until school vacation started to do the Christmas stuff because I had to finalize grades before heading out for the three-week break. The longer I taught, though, the fewer and fewer decorations came out. This year, I don’t know if I’ll do any.
I’ve been seeing gorgeous Christmas cards in the stores I visit. My hand starts to reach out, and then I pull back, thinking I have cards at home, and questioning if I’m even going to send cards this year. I usually send close to 100 cards and receive maybe 20. And this is year after year, the numbers we receive are getting sparser.
This year, I’m thinking I’ll not spend the time writing, addressing, and mailing any Christmas cards. The November weeks are busy, and right now, I have no desire to do any Christmas stuff. The first two weeks of December will also be busy with storytelling and bear delivery at Columbia. Again, it will be like when I was teaching, waiting until school vacation begins to consider doing holiday activities. And by then, well, with so many “rushing the season,” I may already be tired of the season.
Our kids are here for a couple of days, spreading holiday cheer. Last night we all went to Pieology (a pizza place where you can order your pizza, or salad, made any way you want it) and met up with the other grandparents for an evening of fun.
The restaurant is in an upscale shopping center that has a number of metal sculptures depicting cute children doing various activities. Grandson Judah wanted to see all of them so we traipsed around, in the dark and the cold, to see as many in the locations as I could remember. Maybe today we will go back and find all of them and take pictures.
The grown up kids and Terry are going to see the latest Star Wars movie. Jen and her dad have been doing this since she was in college. I’m not a fan so I do other things, and today I will take the grandchildren shopping at some of their favorite spots while the grown ups go to the movie house. It makes all of us happy.
On Friday the kids will travel to the other grandparents’ house in the northern part of the state. Terry and I are the only retired grandparents so we are the most flexible.
The week flew by, but I knew it would. There were so many activities packed onto the calendar, plus all the other chores that keep our life moving along. Many of you dear Readers comment on how busy I am, and yet I’m not, until this month! Then whoosh…busy is definitely the adjective to use to describe this life, even in retirement, during this time.
There were all those medical appointments that I wrote about. There was preparation for storytelling and craft making. Terry had a birthday in between the busyness that created a time to slow down and unwind. His week, just like mine has been busy.
We had spent one evening at a yearly charity event that Terry has photographed for the past five years. Four hundred children who live in severe poverty, along with their parents, are given an evening of fun and gifts, along with amazing food from a number of local restaurants. I made coloring pages and bought color crayons to hand out this time. Terry is currently editing the photos he took.
On Saturday, after taking care of many of the usual chores, we drove into the hills to an open house for a business I discovered this past year–Basil Wood Goat Farm. They make the most amazing goat milk soap that I wanted to stock up on for our own use plus buy for gifts. I don’t give many gifts at Christmas, but what I do give needs to be very special. This soap is just that special.
As Christmas wound down last year, I realized I was sending my last Christmas card. Over the decades I had stockpiled so many fabulous cards but had finally sent them all out into the world. I had no more in my card drawer. Knowing that, I stopped at our local pharmacy which has a post office inside, and bought Peanuts Christmas stamps and two boxes of cards. I had waited too long to find fabulous cards, but the ones I got are festive. My next project is to get cards written and mailed by December 11.
It is Sunday. We will attend church. There will be a Christmas lunch afterwards. I will come home and make bean soup that will provide a few meals for what looks to be another very busy week. I’m giving holiday tours at Kearney Mansion this week in addition to my school chaplain duties.
When I taught numerous high school classes along with managing the yearbook, field trips, and committee meetings, I kept a series of planning books and calendars. I would sit for long periods laying out units, deadlines, meeting dates, and other dates that traverse a school’s solar system like satellites in space. Everything seemed to be a moving target, and my goal was to pin it down, on paper, on a calendar. This time of the year would be crazy, what with the holiday season upon us as well as the numerous parties, deadlines, grading schedules. Oh my. Just typing this reminds me of why I retired from teaching. Keeping all those balls in the air was exhausting.
Although no where as daunting as the schedule I maintained as a teacher for 21 years, I have recently realized my schedule for the next three months is pretty jam-packed. Because of Good News Club and school chaplaincy, each at a different school, on different days of the week, each with its on set of planning days and meetings, I thought it best to bring out the calendar again to set things in place. To ruminate over the weeks, as my husband so kindly calls my calendar obsession.
Just studying a calendar, with the weeks outlined with each activity in its assigned day’s box, makes me feel more confident in my ability to manage my life. This was my lifeline when I was teaching. The planning, the goal-setting, the adherence to a strict schedule were my paths to success. And so, it must be for my current activities. Even in retirement, I am concerned with success at what I do. Just as when I worked, my reputation is at stake. My reputation for high quality work. My reputation for getting the job done when I say I will. My reputation for follow-through and follow-up. My reputation for being the person others want on their team.
The events are in place on the calendar. Now I just have to show up and do the work.
Posted in School
Tagged calendars, Good News Club, holiday season, planning, reputation, retired, Schedules, school chaplain, school holidays, successful, teaching, volunteer work