My first husband was born on a British Military base in Germany, to a German mother and an English father. Talk about a challenge for a new mum/mom/Omi in difficult situations! It was after World War Two, and Germans were not flavor of the month. Often, as an American mom I have been in situations where I have not felt acceptance; and oh, there is nothing like Christmas and New Year's Eve to bring out the differences in family life.
I have to say one of the highlights of my Christmas this year was one of our six grown up children saying he liked my pumpkin muffins enough to ask for the recipe. I was SO pleased that I made him a stocking which included the Libby's Pumpkin Pie (found in a store called Phoenicia in Camden, London and in Whole Food, London) and American measuring cups, alongside the printed out recipe from www.verybestbaking.com .
Many of us thrive on mixed-culture marriage, or simply spending holidays in lands not our own; but whether you do or not I want to suggest that the days between Christmas and New Year could just offer a little "time out" for you. Please do not stop reading at this point-let me suggest some ways to do this before you throw up your hands and say "she doesn't know my life!" With six adult children, five spouses, one girlfriend, six grandchildren and a host of work and church obligations I have experienced a little of the need for figuring out quiet time in several different countries (South Korea, USA, UK, Italy and one year Russia...might have forgotten a place or two. How did I forget Germany?!)
Which brings me back to my first husband. He was excellent at finding "A Quiet Moment" over that time of the year, a time I call "The Interval."
He went to work! And before you think I am criticizing him, I am not. We agreed that this time between two major times of celebrations was a couple of days when most people took off work. He could work quietly and have a few moment to THINK in his office. And before you think I am encouraging Work Addiction, again I am not. You see, the children were at an age where they enjoyed having two or three days to just play with the new Christmas toys and not go anywhere. In the midst of all the building the new Lego etc, I chose not to clean up and to have a few minutes with a cup of coffee and a devotional myself.
But oh my, during The Interval this year I took my Quiet Time to a whole new level. Let me explain:
We had visited one daughter and son in law in London for their Carol Service- I got to hold adorable Baby Zac the entire service! He is two months old now and is mesmerized by all the twinkle around. I am totally mesmerized by him!
Next, back out in Surrey Husband had three of his grandchildren arrive just as my son arrived on his motorbike. It was an afternoon of making gingerbread houses and scrabble...soon by candlelight, as we lost all power. My son stayed in the study/guest room until Christmas Eve. I love cooking for this guy as he has always eaten and enjoyed what I made, which is not what I can say about some unmentioned children (who have other strengths if you are reading this!)
Christmas Day Husband cooked for two hundred very elderly people who were on their own over the holidays. He did the full English Christmas menu in the community centre, while I did some of the meet and greet and chat with some lovely veterans of World War Two. I could go on from there but as we get around to all six kids and their families and have them with us as well, you get the picture. I am a writer who works from home. There was no "Honey, I'll just pop in the office for a few days" (home office is working as a bedroom anyway at this time).So..............
Oh my, I have a little work to do on the guilt, but I took a time out to go and visit a gym. I am not into exercise. Truly, I need to be past caring what I am "into" and "not into," I need the THIS gym. And it is not about the cardio or the strength training; oh no, they have a hot tub at the place I visited. I thanked The Lord (seriously), and prayed that He would give me more and more crazy-to-me but oh more-me-than-I-ever knew- ways of having Intervals.
As I learn acceptance of me, as I am wherever I am.....I may just have to pay rent at the jacuzzi.