013. A Christmas Blessing for Your Inner Child
When I was little, Christmas always felt like it would take eternity to come. The buildup was immense and the countdown was like getting the molasses to come out of the bottle on a very cold day. It was a long game of watching with equal parts impatience and anticipatory glee. I remember the squeals of delight from the Christmas parties in the classrooms and making gingerbread houses from the small milk cartons we got from the lunch line.
Do you remember those little gingerbread houses too? Licking your finger one too many times in the frosting jar?!
There was the time in second grade when we were having our Christmas party and I wore a sweatshirt my Mom made with an embroidered snowman on the front. She even sewed little jingle bells onto his snow belly as the buttons. I was playing with the jingle bells so much so that the thread became limp and off slid that jingle bell into my palm. I decided it would be fun to listen to the lovely noise of the bells as close to my ear as possible. So I jingled that bell right into my ear and somehow lost hold of it. I then did what all 9 year olds would think to do and shoved my cute, chubby finger into my ear to try and retrieve it…
Well, we all know how that one ended up.
My heart started beating a little faster and my face flooded with nerves that due to my mishap, I might just be jingling in my eardrum for the rest of my life. I sheepishly went over to the teachers desk to inform her of the conundrum.
God bless our teachers and the faces they don’t make and the thoughts they don’t say out loud when they hear us recount our youthful tales of trouble and missteps.
She called my Mom and explained the “situation” and asked if she wouldn’t mind making a mini-stop on her Christmas errands to retrieve a lost jingle bell out of her daughters ear. I really do have a great deal of fondness for 9 year old Blake. She’s delightfully curious and I do love the trouble she found herself in.
Molls came on in my classroom, turned my head to the side and brought out the tweezers from her Mary Poppins style purse and weaseled the jingle bell out of my left eardrum. She was so thrilled with me. My class had our Christmas Concert that evening so she had been at home preparing my costume when she was called to attend to this rather urgent matter. The things we put our parents through, right?
I share that story, partly for the joy of recounting Christmases of my past and also with great hopes that it will bring up one or two of your own playful stories of Christmas fun and mischievous delight.
I love that story because I was in no rush whatsoever to get things done or cross things off. It was quite the opposite actually as I had all the time in the world! I was playing and I was curious. I can still see parts of that Blake alive and well today…I knock things over with my elbows like you wouldn’t believe and am largely ignorant around the implications of my clumsiness. I serenade Jordan with Mary Chapin Carpenter and Faith Hill melodies and made up tunes as we head to sleep at night.
Play is such an important part of self-care because it communicates that we are not operating out of the scarcity of time, rather we are living out of the abundance of time. Play keeps us connected to our humanness, to the joys of delight, to the importance of our relationships.
So while I have no doubt that you will get in a tiff or five with that lovely family of yours, I do hope and pray that you are able to play this Christmas. I hope you are able to linger with your loved ones, enjoy sleeping in your childhood bedroom, and allow for the many memories of your younger self to percolate up.
And when those memories from your 8 and 9 year old self come up, I hope you will smile and let her play in your mind’s eye for a moment longer. I hope you will creep under your bed and into the dark corners of your closet to pull out the memorabilia that’s stayed safe and tucked away all these years.
Maybe it’s your beloved American Girl Doll with dust in her over-braided hair. Maybe it’s your trinkets and dress up clothes in the copper tin box. I bet if you smell it closely enough the scent of days past when there was time and ample invitations to play make-believe will still linger.
I don’t know what going home is like for all of you, but I know it’s usually fueled with equal parts excitement and equal parts annoyance. I have no doubt my brothers will make inappropriate comments at the dinner table and one brother may or may not show up toasted to the Christmas Eve service at church. Nothing says a true family Christmas like tipsy giggles during the reading of the Jesus story, am I right?
And even then, with your family and all of their deeply aggravating ways and your own tendency to regress to a loud-mouthed thirteen-year old, I hope you take the time to linger under the lights of your Christmas tree, to let your inner child come out to play, and to bless your younger, playful, mischievous self and all her glory!
Merry Christmas y’all!
What’s it like to be home for Christmas? Are you still in the house you grew up in? What things have stayed exactly the same and what things are completely different? What is a quintessential family tradition for you that you most love?
If you stayed put this year or did something different, what are you most looking forward to? What feelings do you imagine will come up not being a part of the usual traditions?
Think back and bring up your most mischievous Christmas memory. What makes you grin about your younger self and her playfulness?
Spend a few minutes going through your childhood toys and memorabilia if you still have access to them. Let any memories and feelings come up from playing and write down those memories. Imagine if the you today got to play with the little you in those memories. What sorts of things would you say to her? What do you most want to tell her? What do you imagine she would say to you upon getting to see and play with you? Write about what the experience was like.
If you’d like to explore more about your inner-child, self-care, and honoring those playful parts of yourself, book a session with me and we can explore even more together!