When I was in high school it became un-cool to decorate the tree with my family. It was an event to be endured, not so much enjoyed. Added to the pain was the type of the ornaments that went on the tree. My mom insisted on putting our school pictures from each year into small frames and displaying them on the tree. From all objective standards our tree was packed and gaudy. As I grew older, I began to be embarrassed of the multitude of reminders of my dorky past. One year, I was into sweat bands and prominently displayed a wrist band for a school picture. What was I thinking? Decorating the Christmas tree with my family became simply an obstacle to doing what I really wanted to do, which was, uh, nothing really.
Last night I watched my children decorate the tree with a great amount of joy. Sometimes these moments do not live up to the hype. Children have a way of arguing about things, but not last night. Last night was harmonious and joyful as we decorated the tree. They were polite to one another, they helped one another, it was truly a post card moment. It was one of the good moments of life. It was a beautiful time.
I was enjoying moment, but also reflecting back to my own memories. It made me regret some things in my life. I began to wonder at what age my children would think it is un-cool to decorate the tree with mom and dad. I began to feel sorrow for not leaning in to my parents more when I was an adolescent and teen. These moments, the truly great ones are fleeting and sometimes we forget to really enjoy them.
I guess I just want to say to my mom, “I am sorry that I did not enjoy those family moments more. I hope that I did not ruin them for you.” I also want to say, “Thank you. If it was not for your love and hard work, I would not have been able to enjoy that moment with my children last night. I wish you could have been there. I think you would have been proud of me. I laughed with my children, I took pictures, and I danced with my wife. It was perfect.”
The lesson I take away from this is to try to remember to lean in. Lean in to the ones who love you. Lean in to ones you love. These moments, these truly beautiful moments are short, enjoy them for all they are worth.