I know people that think real excitement and fun is getting up during the night, dressing to brave the elements and preparing for a marathon of shopping. They put as much thought into managing their day after Thanksgiving as some people do when they plan their retirement. They make a list of all the stores, pack a back pack with power bars, bottles of water and even a first aid kit. They carry fold out stools for waiting in line and extra bags for carrying their latest find just in case the store runs out of carts.
It's a race. There is a prize. Therefore there must be a strategy.
Here's my strategy. "If I have to fight to purchase it, it's probably not worth it." Ron's favorite is, "If they made this one, they will probably make another one like it." No store would ever depend on us to boost their sales. No, we usually aren't the ones walking away with some major purchase that we just saved $35 on. Yet, we do feel a lot less stress and our Thanksgiving lingers a bit more through Friday.
This morning we slept in. Each of us stretched and moaned until we finally drifted downstairs. We had a leisurely cup of coffee and lingered around the table rubbing our bellies and talking about yesterday's meal and how we shouldn't eat for a week. We read the paper and saw all the great buys we were missing. Instead of being upset, Ken peeked over the paper and decided to get on the floor and play with Jolie. Jamie rubbed his sore leg and laughed at a silly commercial. Memaw told a story. Amie sighed and poured another cup of coffee. Papaw drummed his fingers on the table and wondered how to put sidebars on his blog.
I held Ron's hand as we sat back and smiled. I was glad I didn't go shopping. This was much better. Everyone doing their thing and just being family. It was sweet and quiet and wonderful.
Ken left for Illinois tonight. Amie will leave for Florida on Sunday. Jamie will stay at his house so he can get work done. I will go back to writing and Ron will return to Roadway.
Never let your busy plans destroy your ability to stop for the "normal" moments. I wish I could stop every young parent and find some way to tell them...."Pay attention. Paint pictures in your mind. Savor this moment. "
One day in the distant future your heart will break when you realize that you can't recall what your son looked like when he was 8. You will find yourself rummaging through pictures just to remember that time once again. Not too long after that you will find a tear running down your face when you can't recall the sweet smell of baby powder or remember the sound of their voices begging you to read one more story. Your memory is limited to the stories that are told over and over at reunions. Remembering the daily stuff....the mundane....that slips away as quickly as the ground absorbs rain.
Am I against Black Friday and the shopping frenzy? Of course not. If it's the highlight of the season for you, I'll help you pack. Just remember while you are stuffing that last item into your bulging cart that you have a date tonight - a date with future memories.
I hope you will take the time to go home, gather the family into one room and then watch the show. I promise it's one you will cherish.
God loves you,
P.S. Don't forget to submit a recipe and story. The prize is Faith Ford's book, "Cooking with Faith" and it's wonderful!