Last Sunday morning, as my husband was leaving for work, he said, “Why don’t you make paper snowflakes and put glitter on them?”
Really, honey? Glitter? Are you kidding me? You had to suggest that? Right now? While I am still in my pajamas and on my first cup of coffee? As you are leaving for work and won’t be here to enjoy the “fun?" Really?
The possible mention of working with glitter and glue got my kids so excited that I knew there was no getting out of it. I really had no excuse for disallowing the activity. I just knew that it wasn’t going to be neat. It wasn’t going to be easy. And, I wasn’t going to get my second cup of coffee anytime soon.
I stared at my husband and said “Love you, too” as he walked out, but right then I wasn’t quite feelin’ the love. I was annoyed that he tossed out the project idea and then got to leave. Okay, first I made him get the glitter out of the basement and then he left.
My middle daughter ran and got a stack of white copy paper. Scissors and Elmer’s glue and they were ready. I was still procrastinating and fantasizing about a Sunday morning spent lazily reading the Sunday paper and lying on the couch watching football.
“Mom! Help! I can’t cut the snowflakes. The paper’s too thick when I fold it!”
“Mom! I need the red glitter!”
“Mom! Maybe we can use these to make a birthday card for Grandpa!” (His birthday was Dec. 18. Happy Birthday, Dad!)
I found myself starting to get impatient.
“Wait!” I said. “I have to put down some newspaper before you start gluing.”
There went my Sunday morning read.
“Not so much glitter!”
I had to make a conscious effort to let them create and not worry about the glitter that was now truly everywhere.
“Mom! Can you help me?”
Let go of the glitter, Kath. Let go of the glitter. It doesn’t really matter.
I took a deep breath and took the snowflake from my son. I started to forget about the mess and pay attention to what he was doing.
“Oh no, you need to fold it like this,” I said. “And, then cut like this,” I said. I showed him the proper snowflake cutting technique. After that one, I cut out a few more.
I had flashbacks to hours spent cutting out snowflakes when I was little. I had loved doing that. What had happened to me?
“Now, draw squiggly lines all over it with the glue,” I said.
We covered our snowflakes with red, green and silver glitter and shook off the extra.
For a few minutes there, I forgot about trying to keep the house in order. I forgot about the last-minute Christmas madness that is occurring all around us. I forgot about all of the things I needed to add to my grocery list for Christmas Eve dinner. I forgot about the presents I have to finish wrapping. I forgot about the work projects I needed to do the next day. I sat there cutting white snowflakes out of copy paper and, you know what, I really enjoyed it.
In these last few days before one of the most important days of the year, I am going to try to remember to take a few more opportunities to let go of all the stuff that doesn’t matter and just enjoy.
That is, after I finish cleaning all of the glitter off of the kitchen floor.
I wish you and your families a very Merry Christmas!
About this column: Kathy Yevchak is a mother of three and the author of two children's books. She also works part-time in corporate writing and training.