I've had to eliminate the very concept of stress from my life this year. I've had no other choice.
We're not big spenders in this family to start with. Maybe it's a Mennonite thing, maybe it's from decades of not really having enough cash to cover everything, but we just seem to be pretty content with what we get. It's a good feeling, actually.
This year more than ever I let it go, figuring it'd be more meaningful if everybody has a little surprise to unwrap while knowing there wasn't a whole pile of anxiety around it.
Besides, at 16 and 14, my younguns know they won't be getting what they truly want. Annyong wants a big honking digital single lens reflex camera. Bucky wants, well, apparently he wants night vision goggles and like, adamantium and unobtanium and other stuff he'd probably get arrested for having, but really he wants a car. So they're realistic. They won't be getting that stuff for Christmas. They're okay with that.
I spent a couple hours on the 17th picking up a few things. That was it. Then on Monday, I got sick. Yep, while hosting my fun little imaginary birthday party for my 40th, I was under six blankets, drinking honey and lemon tea, rubbing my burning forehead, trying desperately to get comfortable despite that full body ache.
Any plans I made in terms of shopping, cleaning, visiting, teaching lessons, anything, all evaporated. I have spent the last few days shivering and aching under my blankets, surrounded by kleenex and hand sanitizer, not giving a crap about too much of anything.
Except. My kids were also sick. So I cared very much about that.
Also, my horse was bleeding. He got cut up pretty bad (hind leg, just above the fetlock, luckily not on a tendon) and I'm quite upset about that. Well it just wouldn't be Christmas without an emergency vet visit, am I right? Geez. It's very hard to deal with an injured horse while suffering with prickly skin and a headache and a sore throat. But Phoenix is such a gentleman. He allowed all the needles and sedation and stitches. He stands still while I clumsily change his bandages. I cherish him.
We got medicine too and are on the mend. The germs didn't infect the whole household. I'm cautiously optimistic. Jethro spent the week in the city, so he's clear. Right now he and the kids are off on a shopping adventure. If I know him, our Christmas stockings will be stuffed with little 1L bottles of 10W30 motor oil and ice scrapers, and other things dudes pick up at the gas station on the 24th of December.
I'm cool with that. Can always use more windshield washer fluid.
So, honestly, yes I'm still stressed, it's just that I'm refusing to worry or fret over anything non-essential. I really don't have the energy to fret. Right now, the house smells like Mom's awesome cooking, the tree lights are lit, and the horses are having their mid-afternoon barn wall meditation time. And I'll drag my butt to church tonight for Christmas Eve service.
And tomorrow, I'll be another year older. And it's all okay because we all made it this far. We're together. We have good food to eat. We're allowed to worship as we choose. We may not be totally healthy but we're alive.