Odd title, yes?
When I was a young mother with 4 kids 6 and under, living Advent intentionally was easy. Yes, you heard me. It was easy. It is so simple to prepare those young innocent hearts. So simple to sit down and read beautiful books. Really. As my family grew, I learned what it means to parents teens and young adults. It is a consuming task. I love it, truly. But then somewhere in that hustle and bustle of "big" kid parenting, my new crop of littles have gotten a bit short changed. Some circumstances have been beyond my control. Three of my children have birthdays between December 17th and 26th. That baby born on the 26th, he is turning five this year and his entrance into the world was not without its own drama.
I wanted more this year for my littles. I wanted to make the time to read and craft. I wanted to make the time to prepare their hearts like I did for older children, not just hoping they'd tag along and just kind of soak it in. I want to hear little voices lisping the Advent song my now 13 year old loved to sing when she was 4. I want us to come to Christmas Eve having made ample room in our hearts for the Divine Infant.
Slowing down is really hard. It takes effort and sometimes hard choices. I'm digging deep, examining and asking of my older children, what rooted this season for you? I am adding and subtracting, finding what is essential and letting traditions once again flourish in our home.
We have always celebrated St. Nicholas. Nothing more than chocolate coins and few other sweet treats left in shoes. We bake Speculaas. This year I mentioned to Lilly (17 year old) that maybe I should do more, like "everyone" else. She strenuously objected. They loved the way we celebrated, why mess with it, why worry about "everyone". Old tradition, deeply rooted.
Last year, the day Ella was born, December 19, my older children directed all their little siblings and set up the Christmas tree so it would be up and ready to welcome us when we came home. It still brings tears to my eyes. A new tradition. Ella's birthday will be our tree trimming day.
We are reading our favorite books and adding new ones. Johnny is learning the Advent song and Mara loves "her" candles. They know the Baby is coming and it gives them joy. Me too.