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The holidays are coming. And I LOVE the holidays. I love the atmosphere, the music, the lights and decorations, the joy on loved ones faces and the wonderful holiday traditions. This weekend, we decorated our house with outdoor Christmas lights. One of my favorite holiday traditions with my children is to pile in the car with a steaming cup of hot chocolate and drive around town admiring the beautifully decorated houses. We decorate our house with the wonderful anticipation of knowing others might enjoy the same. The kids were excited and lugged all of the lights and decorations to the front yard, urging us to start decorating as early as possible. So we did. And within just a short time, I was reminded that with beautiful holiday traditions, comes frustration. Frustration over tangled lights. Frustration over broken lights. Frustration over sibling rivalry. Frustration over cold fingers not working properly. What started out as a beautifully cold, yet sunny day of merry-making became a frustrating afternoon of trying to hold together a family tradition.
Trying to recover, we moved inside to begin another Affinito family tradition: decorating a tree to donate to the Annual Festival of Trees event in our town. I was gathering the candy needed to assemble the chocolate mice and Santa sleighs and it happened. My son walked haltingly into the kitchen with a look of terror on his face, trying to say ‘Mom’ and grasping his chest. He was choking on a peppermint candy. Terrified, I yelled for my husband who acted swiftly and gave him the Heimlich Maneuver successfully. My tears were instant and I hugged my son with everything I had.
As I hugged my son, I was reminded of what was most important this holiday season: family. I will take the frustration over tangled and broken lights. I will take the frustration of sibling rivalry and less-than-perfect-listening. Because frustration over sharing these events with those I love means they are here to share in them with me. I would take days and days of frustration over things not going right together than things going perfectly alone. As I gear up for the holiday season, I will hold onto this memory as a reminder of what is most important and savor the moments to come, however perfectly imperfect.