Thursday, January 23, 2014

Basking In The Snow

Since coming home from Christmas in Tennessee, we tried to get into a routine which included mundane activities like making freezer crockpot meals and trying a new schedule for my workouts which will hopefully produce earlier evenings for our family. These happenings were sprinkled with my silly obsession with a football coaching position at not-even-my alma mater. James Franklin left Vanderbilt for Penn State.  You know how people know where they were when JFK was shot, well I will remember what got me hooked on twitter -- the world of college football hiring.

Anyway, in the midst of a new year, I've found myself in a bit of a funk. Over the holidays, I ate and slept more than I should, and now I'm focusing a little too much on the guilt of such decadence.  On Monday of MLK day, before I knew there were going to be three subsequent snow days, I felt a tad guilty for lying down with Molly for her nap well past the time that she had fallen deep enough asleep for to me to get up.  Instead of getting up to mindlessly complete some chores, I stayed with her with my eyes closed although I was awake. I let the sounds of her deep breaths combine with the sway of one her hands on my neck and the other clutched to me provide the setting for meditation.

A few days later, we got a lot of snow and even though the weather was frigid, the girls went out to sled. Molly has been talking about snow since summer and we so hoped she would get it this year. Thankfully, both girls got the chance to enjoy all a snow day entails: sledding, friends, hot chocolate: life's decadents for children.

At one point during their sledding adventures, Molly laid herself down in the snow, turned her face toward the sun and looked like she was in pure bliss.  Much like me lying with her as she napped, she looked asleep but was awake. I believe she was basking in her joy for the snow.

 I took this as a cue to bask in life's precious moments.  Like Molly Mae in the snow, I want to appreciate life, which is made so much sweeter because of her spirit.  As I will look back on these years with young children, I'll know I reveled in the moments with Molly and Anna Cate. That even though I worked outside the home, worked out, and worried about the silly stuff like a clean kitchen and an extra 10 (or 30) pounds, and how it was all going to work out, I did make the time to appreciate the moments with my children. Much like Christmas, I stress out about the juggling act of time to get it all done. But what is it if not the chance to look above and bask in the glory of  whatever you would fill in the blank as important  -- snow, time, health, love.
Our sweet 3 year old laying in the cold snow with her face turned to the bright sky reminds me to be still, to focus on the moments of joy and less about the hurried, unconscious time that could be spent elsewhere. 

Dear God, 
Thank you for my children and the moments I spend with them. Please make me worthy of their presence, and allow me frequent instances of clarity to appreciate the treasures of their spirits in light of my trivial, egotistical need for productivity. 
~Sarah Bates King, 2014

Recap of Christmas

We spent the  Christmas season oscillating between going through the motions and stopping to enjoy the moments with family and friends.  Well, BJ and I probably spent some time going through the motions; the girls just enjoyed the moments like children do, in the moment, sucking the marrow of life.

We enjoyed extra time with Nana, which included making a ginger bread house together.
 Both parents and kids enjoyed the shenanigans from our little elf on the shelf or in a martini glass, Maggie.

 Anna Cate and I enjoyed our annual viewing of the Nutcracker and Molly joined us, and was quite mesmerized. It was so special to share it with Molly. Last year, I had quite a revelation at the nutcracker, about raising two different girls. So it was not a given to me that Molly would enjoy it the way Anna Cate does, but she did.
 We spent an evening with Patti and her family and Greg and Sarah at a Japanese steak house, which was a traditional holiday meal for BJ's mother.
 The girls enjoyed getting out their holiday pi's. . . .
 and reading familiar Christmas tales.
 I used my friend Mary Ann's recipe to make rum cakes for friends.
Like Molly at the nutcracker, it is always a nice surprise when the cakes turn out like I want, meaning the cake doesn't stick to the pan.
I enjoyed spying on this moment where BJ told Molly about his mom, whose presence we miss a little more acutely for holidays.
We took the time to decorate our home even though we always know we will spend Christmas in Tennessee.
We celebrate as a family by sharing gifts with each other. Anna Cate's big gift from us was a guitar and Molly's was a dress up kit.

Then we took the long but oh-so-worth it trip to my hometown, which I believe in many ways is sort of like home for BJ and the girls. Here's some images of that times.

Christmas 2013 from Sarah King on Vimeo.