health and wellness, lifestyle, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

Holidaze

Here we are, it’s the first day of December. December has officially arrived. The holiday season is in full swing. Hanukkah has begun, the menorah has been lit. Every radio station playing Christmas carols, some playing them 24/7. Twinkle lights twinkle at every turn. An Elf on every shelf… thank god I missed this “tradition”. Advent calendars starting their Christmas Eve countdown. Christmas trees popping up on every social media feed, along with the ever present and ever so popular question “So… got all your Christmas shopping done?” or my all time favorite “Don’t you just love Christmas?!?!”. What never ceases to amaze me is those who declare their love of Christmas and the holidays are the same people that have a panic attack wondering if their Mother in Law will complain about the Turkey or their Mother will once again voice her concern over their daughter wearing black eyeliner.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched and listened to many I hold dear. I’ve seen the fear in their eyes, the panic in their voice, all over the holidays, over getting all the gifts just right and the opinions and reactions of their families. When I’m asked about my plans, I usually just get a blank stare followed with “I wish I could do that.”. What are my plans you ask? A quiet night with my parents, my hubby and daughter on Christmas Eve. A quiet lunch with my Mother in Law on Christmas Day. Am I done my shopping? I don’t know. Yup, you read that correctly, I don’t know. I always buy my Mother in Law some of her favorite creams, candles etc…, they make her happy. I buy for my daughter, because I enjoy surprising her. That’s about it. My husband and I don’t exchange gifts, on Christmas. We surprise each other during the year, some years more than others. I’ll put together little things I’ve found throughout the year to brighten a friend’s day.

Before you stop reading, or shout out your screen “Easy for you! You don’t have a huge family!” or “Easy to say when you don’t have 6 kids!” or “Everyone in your family is healthy!”, you are all correct. It is easy for me, it wasn’t always. I used to knock myself out trying to create the picture perfect holiday season. Yes, the season, not just a day or two, the whole goddamn month. I Martha Stewarted and Norman Rockwelled the shit out of the holidays. I’m tired just thinking about it. I was trying so hard to achieve the holiday I thought I should be having, not the holiday I wanted to have. Being as stubborn as I once was, and still am, in 2009, the powers that be, the Universe, God, the Smurfs, your choice, decided it was time for me to slow down and ease up, so my body grew a fibroid, a big one,(no cancer) and the surgery date was slotted for December 4th. You can’t deck the halls when you have a 10 inch scar across your stomach. So there I was, forced to slow down and guess what? The ground didn’t open up and swallow me whole. Who knew a hysterectomy for Christmas would be one of the best gifts I’ve ever received.

The point to my holiday/medical rambling you ask? Let’s go to Oxford Dictionary for a moment. Holiday noun; a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done. … see, the dictionary gets it, it’s time we do too.

We cannot control everything, trust me, I’ve tried. We can’t. We can’t control how Aunt Ida keeps giving you a hand knit sweater 3 sizes too big and demands you model it even though she’s reminded every year of your size and that you are allergic to wool. We can’t control how Mothers and Mother in Laws are “fine” with alternating Christmas dinners. We can’t control the opinion that our kids eat too much junk by the very people who fill a stocking full of chocolate and treats and give them to said children. Sorry Virginia, in the case of controlling your family, friends and all aspects of your holiday experience, there is no Santa Claus. We can, however, control ourselves, our reactions, our personal traditions. I don’t see all my family on Christmas Day anymore. I deliver cookies before Christmas and have a visit. We see my parents on Christmas Eve. Sometimes we share a meal, sometimes hor d’oeuvres. Sometimes we exchange gifts, sometimes we exchange memories and good conversation. We still have to travel on Christmas Day to see family, but now we decide the time. Too many snow squalled drive homes in the dark changed that. We now go for lunch. We see our family, we eat a meal together, watch my Mother in Law and daughter open gifts, have a nice visit and are home by 4 p.m.. Meeting halfway is better than not meeting at all.

Christmas presence, be it for the day or for an hour, is better than any Christmas presents you can buy.

Beauty, communication, Hair Care, health and wellness, parenting, That girl in the red coat, Uncategorized, Women, writing

Breathe

breathe – (verb) – to take air, oxygen into the lungs and expel it; inhale and exhale; respire. – to pause, as for breath; take rest.

Breathing. Something we do everyday. We inhale. We exhale. … but what about that pause and take rest part? From what I am seeing and hearing everyday, many of us, including yours truly, remember to breathe in and out but forget about pausing, and taking rest.

The shop opened at 9:30 a.m.. By 10 a.m. I had 6 phone calls, all of which were women looking for a certain product and before I could answer their questions all of them were either panicking, yelling at their kids in the background or speaking over me and telling me;

– why they couldn’t get in today because they had to get their kids to camp, the groceries, the dentist appointments…you name it.

– why they didn’t come by on the weekend – too busy, too much to do.

– that they were too busy to call any other time – too busy, too many other calls to make.

– that their family was over for a vacation and they had been too busy taking care of everyone else and forgot about their hairspray

– that they were too stupid to notice they were out of shampoo – yes…a woman with a shaky voice actually said those words to me.

My rep. was in the shop as all these calls were coming in. In between each ring of the phone, I would put my hand up, tell my rep.”Excuse me for a minute” and take a deep breath, in and out, and would tell myself, “Breathe Sara…it’s not about you.”. – a hard learned lesson for yours truly. Learning that it is not all about you may be the hardest lesson to learn – with the greatest reward. This past week was a hard one. Not going to get into the details for it is not all about me. I thought I was present, thought I was hearing what was being said, thought I had removed my head from my ass, seems I hadn’t. It is safe to say that it is now completely removed, and I learned a hard lesson – I may have been listening to those around me, but I wasn’t hearing them. I was too busy thinking of the next task at hand, or what my opinion was about what they were saying. I wasn’t completely present. I wasn’t taking a moment to pause.

“…the world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.” – Brooks Hatlen, The Shawshank Redemption. I am not sure when it happened,  all of a sudden every moment became so dire. Everyday I meet women who are in a hurry. In a panic. I can’t tell you how many times their purchases, their keys or their kids are left at the front desk, or how many times I see;

– Sighing at the debit machine because it is too slow.

– Yelling at their child because they want to take a moment and look at the pretty nail polishes.

– Almost yanking their child’s arm out of it’s socket because they stopped to look at the candies in the candy dish and asked if they could please have one.

– Their lip starting to tremble as they are texting with one hand and entering their PIN with the other.

– Watching their worry about getting home in time for their favorite T.V. show.

– Demanding I tell them why their favorite product was discontinued and told “I don’t know why you are doing this to me! What am I going to do?”.

Ladies and gents…it’s time to take a breath. It’s time to take a moment to pause, to rest.

– When the debit machine is slow, take it as permission to take a little break in your day.

– When your child is looking at the pretty nail polishes, look with them. Ask them what they think is the prettiest color.

– When your child spies a candy dish and asks politely if they may have one – do not yank their little arm. Thank them for using their manners.

– When paying for a purchase, put down your phone. If the call cannot wait, ask the cashier if you could have a moment. Trying to do these two things at once, in my experience, in front of the counter and behind it…it never ends well.

– Worried about missing the next episode of The Real Housewives of where ever? – that is what on demand, PVR and Netflix is for.

– We all feel cheated when our favorite products are discontinued. Try to remember that stylists and sales people are only the messenger’s. Tell us what you liked about your beloved product and we may be able to find you a suitable replacement. … and trust me, it may feel personal – the company did not discontinue the product to ruin your life. They didn’t.

Take a breath. Take rest. Pay attention to those around you. Pay attention to your surroundings. Set your PVR and take a look at the pretty polishes. Take the time to really listen…it’s amazing what you will hear.