Nurture Her Nature

Home for the Holidays

It is so easy and wonderful to get caught up in the chaos of Christmas. So many presents to give, so many places to go, so many foods to eat, so many lights to see. I love this holiday on my own, but Story’s excitement in going to my parents’ house and spending time with her grandparents and aunts is contagious. As a child, the wonder of Christmas could sustain me for weeks, long after the decorations came down and the candy was gone. Now, as an adult, the aftermath is an immediate letdown. The decorations come down, the pine needles are vacuumed up, and work and regular life take over again.

It is two days after Christmas, and this morning, I had already begun to create the post-holiday to-do list in my mind. We had one more get-together to attend, and then, as much as I hated it, I had to seriously think about getting back to work. My dad’s family doesn’t gather often, usually only once a year, if schedules allow. This year, we met for dinner and good conversation. It’s always nice to see them. We aren’t what you would call close, but we all genuinely like each other and are interested in each other’s lives, so it is always a pleasant experience.

This year was different.

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You’re Doing Okay, Mom

Each maternity leave, there was one commercial that would send me to tears instantly. The first time, it was a commercial that reminded me that you only have a baby for one year. Through the sleepless nights and unfamiliar amount of stress, it tore me out of my narrow focus of the day to day and forced me to realize that this time was incredibly short. And I knew then exactly how much I would miss it. (more…)

I Was That Mom

Last year, I was that mom. You know, the one in a full panic because the toy of the season that every kid wants is out of stock, and, guess what, that’s the one toy yours wants for Christmas. The shame of participating in this has plagued me all year. But, before full judgment sets in, let me explain. I assure you, my motives were pure. (more…)

The Year We Had an Elf

by Elizabeth Stasny

These days almost everyone with young children knows about The Elf on the Shelf, but in 2008 when my younger daughter, Margaret, was nine years old and in fourth grade, elves were a fairly new phenomenon. Margaret came home from school one day in early November all excited – her friend Emma had an elf that was staying with her until Christmas and Kate was asking for one too. Could she please, please, please ask Santa to let an elf stay with her until Christmas?

The year we had an elf 1What? I’d never heard of such a thing. I emailed Emma’s mother asking what all this business about elves was. I didn’t like what I heard. You sent away for a little stuffed toy elf (for an outrageous amount of money, plus shipping and handling), the elf stayed a toy during the day while everyone was awake but came alive at night and did mischievous things around the house. Some suggestions were that the elf would watch DVDs, which he would leave around on the floor along with spilled popcorn that he had popped. Or he might go “fishing” for goldfish crackers in the sink, again making a mess. At that moment I was not all that happy with Emma’s mother for getting an elf for Emma. I didn’t have time to clean up messes around an elf-free house; I certainly didn’t have time to make and then clean up messes from a Christmas elf!

But it was hard to resist Margaret’s begging, and her written plea to Santa:

Dear Santa,
May I please have an Elf? I would really like one!
Lots of Love,
Margaret
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