Riley is comfy in his New Orleans SAINTS blanket, reading and eating some chocolate chips! What a lucky guy
Riley had some fun with Expo markers! Too bad it was on my huge mirror. Sorry about the picture quality.
This morning before work, I had a talk with a very dear friend. It started by her asking how I was doing; although most people see me as the “overachiever” , the happy cheerful super mom, the crazy elf on the shelf mom — she sees right through it all. Both she and I have lost our mothers and the holidays are so tough. I am a very emotional person and wear my heart on my sleeve to those who know me. Just the mention of my mom at this time of year (with those who are close to me) evokes tears in my eyes, I don’t even speak of her to those who are just acquaintances because I couldn’t handle it; she on the other hand hides her emotions very well. She doesn’t have me fooled at all, but I love her dearly and respect her way of handling it. Everyone deals with loss in their own way, and there is “no right way” and there is “no wrong way”, but it does help if you have someone else who has gone through or is going through the same things you are.
Through our conversation we both realized that we do so much more during the holidays because we do not want our children associating the holidays with sadness and grieving. During the Thanksgiving break, we did not stop. Everyday there was some outing or event planned to do. On Thanksgiving Day, I cooked a massive meal for my little 5 member family. Why? Because that is what my mom did. I want my children to be able to have the joy and the brightness that I had while I was growing up, and if I would stop and think about it, I would get all emotional and that is not what I want in front of my children. When I was a child Thanksgivings were spent at the camp on the bayou. We had all of the traditional foods along with the cajun meals and an assortment of decadent desserts (my favorite).
Now Christmas time is upon us and I am one of those crazy Elf On The Shelf moms. Our elf is named Riley and he is quite the mischievous little guy who brings tons of fun and happiness to my whole family. The eager looks on my children’s faces in the mornings as they search for the him, the deep sincere giggles that come from them when they find Riley in his little shenanigans is worth every effort put forth. My family makes Christmas crafts, we bake, watch Christmas movies and listen to Christmas music every time we are in the car.
Why? I don’t have a definite answer, but I know that as a child Christmas was one of the happiest times of the year at my house. My mom made the over-sized wooden yard decorations, painted them, and had one of everything Christmas you could think of displayed in our yard. We had a life sized manger display and thousands of Christmas lights adorned to every fixture she could put them on.
I stay busy and bright for my children, so they can have the same happiness that I had. So before someone passes judgement or makes fun of someone else who goes way overboard with their holiday cheer, think about their reasoning. I could lock myself in my room and sleep through it all, but that would be selfish on my part. I may overcompensate, but that is my way of dealing with the emotional turmoil and keeping it from my kids. We do remember my mom and speak of her often. I do get emotional with them and I want them to remember her, but I can not allow it to be burdensome to them.
I show them pictures of our old Christmas displays and tell them about how our house reminded me of a wood crafter’s workshop when bought new patterns to make. I tell them stories of my friends and my adventures, hiding in the manger display, standing with the wooden carolers and pretending to sing, pulling down the North star from our flagpole and attaching my cousin to it instead (that is something I will never forget). BTW her belt loops broke halfway up the flagpole (yes I know that was stupid using her belt loops, but we were teenagers) and she never had the chance to shine in the place of the north star. Crissy if you are reading this, know that you shine brighter than the North Star in my book.
Hug those you love a little tighter, tell them you love them every chance you get, smile at the stranger on the street, and never take anything for granted since nothing is promised. As adults, it is our job to teach our kids, to start new traditions or to carry on the old ones. They see everything we do, they hear the conversations we have and they mimic us because to them we are perfect, we are the people they want to be when they grow up. I know that I don’t want my kids to be the person making fun of or laughing at someone for coping with their hardships in their own way. I want my kids to respect others and know that we each have our own reasons behind our actions and unless those actions are harmful to others surrounding that person, then it should not be of any concern.
For those who enjoy the shenanigans of our elf, stay tuned, I am sure he will keep us all on our toes.
This morning Riley was being a little more mischievous than normal. He pulled out Patience’s bank and decided to fill his bag; it’s a good thing we woke up and turned on the lights just in time to stop him! ;)
Riley has been captured by the Lego guys and our hunting nutcracker! Oh the trouble this little elf gets into!
For all of my faithful followers, it is that time of the year again. Our elf Riley returned this morning with Christmas countdown calendars. Our elf has been quite an over achiever for the last couple of years, setting the bar high. I sure hope he can surprise us this year!! For those who have not seen our past elf adventures click on the elf on the shelf tab to view more!