While my “H Street Treasures” contribution to the Lincoln Kids Newspaper about yesterday’s downtown Lincoln Christmas open houses came out in November, I actually wrote the article in August. So for four months, I had been anticipating attending the tree lighting ceremony and touring all three houses. Of course, my family would be in sync with me – I knew it was going to be a joyous day.
Then the week-end arrived. The kids and I were out and about most of Friday. Then our family drove down to Beatrice for a concert. Saturday we were out of town almost all day for a funeral. And Sunday we had to be at church early. Plus there was lots of snow. Beautiful to see but not fun to drive through. Suddenly this afternoon that I had planned so many months before was going to need some tweaking.
Thankfully my husband grasped that the afternoon was important to me. So he was willing to go, although I know he would have rather been at home taking a nap on the couch. My kids also kind of wanted to go home, but their vote does not carry the same weight (Sorry, Kids!) We did not arrive downtown until 1:45. 15 minutes before the Nebraska Capitol tree lighting ceremony. And I knew right away I had to let that part go.
The unlit state tree that we saw on Friday at the Nebraska capitol building. I assume that it know sparkles with lights – I just cannot confirm it at this time!
We found a parking spot right in front of the Kennard House. I knew I definitely wanted to go there since that house is rarely open to the public without an appointment. So, we trudged through there. Within five minutes one of kids needed to go the bathroom, despite having just gone. And of course, there is no public bathroom there, so my husband left to go next door with the kids when we had hardly even been able to look around. I followed shortly thereafter.
Our family reconvened in the dining area of the next-door Ferguson House. We spent the first 15 minutes standing in the dining room while our kids cycled through the restroom (again), slowly sipped too-hot cider and ate cookies, all the while asking for more. Not exactly restful or festive.
We did walk through the rest of the house. But at this point, maybe the kids were too familiar with the house as they kept circling rooms and going up and downstairs. And my husband was definitely ready to depart – holiday home tours are way more my thing. Plus the kids were not completely being model children. I was wondering why I simply had not dropped off my family at home and came down by myself.
And maybe that would have been better yesterday. But yet when it comes down to it, I wanted them there. Interrupting the situation and all. Touring the homes by myself would have been more peaceful, but it would also have been more lonely. Less meaningful. We left downtown only going to half of my desired locations. And driving away having not stepped foot in either the Capitol or the Governor’s Mansion was a bit sad for me. But really I would not have it any other way. Perhaps needing to limit my activities is good for me.
I think I am naturally an on-the-go person. When I was single, I think I was often gone and out-and-about. But my husband and kids make me want to stay home more. And so naturally we will miss out on things. This past week alone I missed out on two different Christmas cookie exchange events (Although I did manage to make cookies in time, so we have been enjoying those even if I had to miss the events!). And free tickets to see Narnia (that was tough to give up!) Plus a youth symphony event that my kids would have enjoyed. If we would have had nothing else going on.
This season of Christmas seems to go faster every year. And I have to ask myself what kind of memories do I want my kids to have? I am finally learning that I need to combine activity with space. Events with free time. So, today the kids and I are home all day. (Unless they get their work done and can talk me into taking them down the street to go sledding …)
So, I just wanted to encourage all of you to choose well this Christmas season. Pick the events that will mean the most to you, then stay home the rest of the time. Alternate a concert with a game night. Driving around seeing Christmas lights with hot cocoa, then watching a Christmas movie at home. As with every season of having kids, balance is the key. Our kids will grow up quickly, and so while we do not want to waste a second, we also do not want to cram the moments in.
Yesterday ended up being a great day for me overall because I did let go what could not happen. We did see the Kennard House (albeit quickly). I did get to show my husband pieces of the Ferguson House, a place that has become important to me. And the best part of my afternoon, getting to meet Anne Ferguson – the Fergusons great-granddaughter who I had only talked to on the phone. In the end, people are what really matter.
I really appreciate this Christmas song by Amy Grant. A great reminder that what we will need this season is a “Silent Night.” Although I cannot promise that quiet will happen while your kids are still awake 🙂 …
P.S. Tomorrow I will post pictures of the two houses decorated for Christmas! They were beautiful!