Thursday, December 20, 2007

The season of silent nights - Real-Life Mom Column in Today's Oregonian Newspaper

The Oregonian SW Weekly Thursday, December 20, 2007
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"This season, bring back peace and silent nights"

By Cornelia Seigneur

T he other day when I was trying to get out the door, saying to my 4-year-old, Augustin, "Hurry, we are late," he said to me, "Mommy, why are we always rushing?" Another time while we were driving, Augustin asked, "Mommy, why are you in a hurry?"

He could sense I was time-stressed, though I had not verbalized it. I had no (good) reason either time. From the mouths of babes.

With the Christmas season upon us, the feeling of needing to rush, to get things done, is only intensified. A house to decorate. Things to buy. Meals to plan. Parties to host. Cookies to bake. Cards to mail. Presents to wrap -- first have to get them. Whatever happened to the values in the traditional Christmas carols? Joy to the world. Peace on Earth. Silent night . . . all is calm.

The season of joy can become the season of scurrying about, dragging our kids here and there. My neighbor Joyce Milan recently took her dog, Missy Rose, to the mall for photographs with Santa. Though it was already 8:30 at night, the line was long, not just with dog adorers but with parents and kids. Joyce was surprised to see kids out so late for Santa photos.

And a few years ago during the Christmas season, there amid the night-owl shoppers I saw cranky moms screaming at crying kids. OK, so the kid gets a bunch of presents to open on Christmas, but bad memories a month before.

My sister and I used to meet at the mall with our kids for Santa photos, but one year the line was so long -- a two-hour wait with 14 kids between us -- that we decided to forgo our tradition and go to the Giving Tree instead to purchase gifts for less fortunate children. Now that's our tradition. It's OK to re-evaluate.

This year, I couldn't believe all the ads for Black Friday shopping: stores opening at midnight and every hour afterward. My sister laughed about them on Thanksgiving Day, saying she was heading out at midnight and naming all the stores she would hit and when.
When I called her the next day to see how it went, she said she decided not to go. She said, "It felt too frenetic and rushed."

My 4-year-old would have agreed.

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