‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’  Leonardo Da Vinci

For a few days now I have been hearing that holiday rumble in the distance. Every year just as October begins to come to a close I start to feel the pressure of my desire to provide the people that I love with a holiday that exceeds their every wish and desire. Despite the fact that my logical mind knows this is ridiculous and not what the holidays are about, I still somehow stumble into the exact same pothole every single year. So my yearly stumble was right on cue today, when I awoke a few hours earlier than unusual  with the urgent thought that perhaps my husband and I could take a trip with our three children during the holiday season. A few quick searches into airfare for five and room accommodations and I closed down my computer in defeat. Despite my best intentions a grand family vacay was not in the cards again this year.

Throughout the day my mind returned to my futile early morning search. I felt disturbed, not so much by the results of my search, but instead by my compulsion to undertake that search. In the sleepy fog of predawn, that pothole was waiting and I dove right in. My unraveling almost always begins with a thought form that centers around notions of the finite-ness of time, the busy work lives that my husband and I juggle, and the lack of ‘once in a lifetime’ vacations we have missed sharing with our three children. Our children span quite an age gap, with the oldest being 23 and the youngest 7. The older two are full-time college students who both work part-time , so finding time to spend together as a family almost requires a strategic planning committee. In reality, it has not just been family vacations that we have struggled to make fit the notion of the ‘american dream’-  we have always flown by the seat of our pants…it’s just how we roll.

Well I may have been unsuccessful at finding the ideal holiday vacation this morning, but tonight did find both of our older children making time to come home for dinner. This thrilled our 7-year-old son and our dog to no end. While I prepared a menu of comfort food at its finest (chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and gravy) I watched our two older children ‘ooh and ah’ as their little brother modeled his Halloween costume for them. Just seeing the three of them laughing together reminded me of the importance of the simple pleasures life offers.

It was no tropical vacation… it was a family of five sitting down to share a gut bomb on a plate… but I was keenly aware of how irreplaceable and perfect this night was. I don’t think anyone else noticed, but Christmas came early to our house this year, and it could not have been more simple or more perfect.

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