• Sabrina Irvine

Life Lessons in 2020: Part 3

I think it's safe to say this year has been a bit of a dud, but I spent my last two blogs unpacking some of the lessons I've learned. My final blog of the year, completes my three part series on takeaways from 2020. The sole focus of my podcast and blog platforms is to focus of finding joy among the chaos of motherhood and life. I'll be the first to admit, I've struggled at many points in 2020 to find those small yet unbelievable sparks of joy.

I have found myself very focused on making this Christmas spectacular in an effort to somehow fix 2020 for my kids. While I'm not blowing the budget by any means, I have found myself trying to squeeze and cram in an abundance of Christmas wonders and activities. I really can't be the only Mom who feels an overwhelming pressure to make Christmas extraordinary to somehow balance out an awful year.

When we look back on what the kids lost over the past year the list is quite substantial. The kids lost a big chunk of the last school year, time with grandparents, missed birthday parties, cancelled hockey games, and dance recitals (just to name a few). For some reason as a Mom, I have placed extra emphasis on creating extraordinary memories this holiday season. Perhaps this roots back to wanting to always fix things for my kids, to somehow swoop in and pick up the broken pieces to save the day. If in some way a heroic effort, to prevent my kids from facing unnecessary disappointment and pain. If I'm being completely honest, maybe there is more to this obsession with Christmas than meets the eye. Maybe...just maybe...my obsession with Christmas has come from the pandemic realization that life really is precious. As a result of this pandemic, many people who were here last Christmas are no longer with us. Many businesses we shopped at last year or restaurants we visited have closed their doors. This Christmas will undoubtedly be different, regardless of how hard I work to craft these perfect memories.

When we were forced to slow down and spend more time at home we began to realize just how much we truly value uninterrupted family time. We want to create these spectacular memories not only for our kids but for ourselves as parents. These days we linger a little longer when we hug our kids because we now realize how much we underappreciated the power of human touch. We read the extra bedtime story because we have nothing more important to do than be with our kids.

Amidst my Christmas planning, baking and crafting, I had one of those lightbulb moments during a conversation with my four year old daughter Lennox. I often find the most impactful life lessons come from my kids. Lennox and I were baking cookies (checking another batch off my ridiculously long baking list). I was upset that the recipe didn't work out as planned and obviously I was getting pretty visibly worked up about it (as I regularly do when things don't go according to "my plan".) My daughter looks at me and says, "Mom you're being silly it doesn't matter to me if they look good, I had fun baking with you."

My daughter's words struck a deep chord with me, I have become so focused on fixing 2020 that I lost sight of what's really important to my kids. Im in the process of writing my first book, and one of the chapters focuses on the idea that Mom's become obsessive and controlling. It is undeniable that my actions during Christmas 2020, could definitely fall face first into Chapter one of my upcoming book.

My most recent obsession was with sprinkles of all things. I have been searching for three weeks to find red and green sprinkles. I have been to at least twenty different stores searching for Christmas sprinkles...but I haven't had any luck. I finally threw in the towel and admitted defeat. I guess Christmas sprinkles must be the toilet paper of December 2020. I came home from my final sprinkle search feeling annoyed, grumpy and totally defeated. "How could I possibly complete my Christmas baking list without festive sprinkles?" In my mind, I had obviously ruined Christmas for my family. My seven year old daughter Scarlett says, "Mom you know they will taste the same with rainbow sprinkles." It was in that moment that I realized I didn't need to create a flawless Christmas to fix 2020. I can't fix the year my kids have been through, no picture perfect Christmas will somehow erase what they are feeling. I can however set the tone for a new year focused on hope, health and new beginnings.

Learn from me, Christmas is an amazing season filled with many opportunities to create memories with your kids. Don't get so caught up in the memories being perfect, that you miss making the memory in the first place. This Christmas will undoubtedly be different for everyone and as easy as it is to get stuck focusing on what we are missing out on...focus on what we have in front of us this Christmas. I encourage you to find some joy in the chaos of this Christmas season. I'm off to decorate some gingersnaps with rainbow sprinkles. Catch you in the new year!

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