Last night was a lets-take-the-long-way kind of night. A drive-through-every-neighborhood-in-a-5-mile-radius kind of night. A crank-up-Michael-Buble-radio-roll-down-the-windows-ooh-and-ahh-over-twinkle-lights kind of night.
Those are the best nights, aren’t they?
It was the perfect reminder.
Olivia and I took a little 45 minute trip to drive across town to visit family while Robert was at work yesterday.
For the whole drive to my parents’ house, my mile-long to-do list kept flashing in my head.
I still had Christmas shopping to do, groceries to buy, projects to finish…I had major tunnel vision going on.
I just zoned out and let the stress build up inside of me while Olivia hummed to herself in the backseat.
And the longer we were in the car, the tighter my grip became on my steering wheel. People kept cutting me off in traffic, cars were backed up on the highway as far as the eye could see.
I was done. So done.
And then we finally emerged from the holiday traffic crawl.
I love visiting my family, but even when I got to their house, that pesky to-do list kept flashing in my head. I told myself we’d keep our visit short so I could manage all of those unfinished tasks that were gnawing at me.
But when we walked through my parents’ door, Olivia made a mad dash, arms wide open, squealing with sheer bliss to see her grandparents. And I mentally smacked myself right then. This was what I wanted to leave? To run errands that barely even mattered?
So I hugged my brother and sister-in-law I hadn’t seen in months. I ate dinner with my family around the kitchen table where I grew up. We all played together on the floor of my old living room with Olivia and had a blast.
And when we left hours later, I had no regrets.
Because the to-do list can wait, but the time with those you love cannot.
And as Olivia and I drove back home in the dark, I had a different attitude from how I felt before that day.
I cranked up the Christmas radio station and that spunky three year-old and I sang “Jingle Bells” as loudly as we could.
I took my time and drove down so many side streets, I lost count.
I rolled the windows down and let Olivia gasp in awe at every lit up house we could find on our impromptu tour.
According to her, every house was more beautiful than the last, whether it was a mansion or a one room shack.
It was all the Christmas magic I needed. Because even though seeing those sparkly lights might have looked magical to her, seeing her face light up at every turn was the most beautiful sight of all.
And I know that checking off an item on my to-do list would never have surmounted to that feeling I had in my heart, to share a simple drive with my daughter and actually be present in that moment.
The older I get, the more I realize, as great as it is to be a kid at Christmas, it’s a thousand times better being a parent.
It’s the little moments that matter most, the ones we often take for granted.
I hope now, as the Christmas home tours are in full swing and the to-do list leading up to the big day keeps growing that you still hold tight to the little things. In the end, those are the big things.
Because a beautifully decorated home without heart is just a house. No matter what your own looks like, I hope you own it. I mean really own it, whether it’s a mansion or a one room shack. It’s perfect in its own way.
So in case you missed any of the 12 Days of Christmas Blogger Tours, you can click any of the images in this post to find them all. Every single one is beautiful partly because it is so evident so much thoughtfulness went into decorating each one. But most of all, each is perfect because they are a reflection of the sweet families who live in them. I hope at this time of year, you love the home you have and all the people in it.
Today, Jenny from Evolution of Style along with all 16 of us are hosting a Christmas decor link party where you can stop in to share your own home and holiday projects with us (and maybe so Olivia can ooh and ahh over the pretty lights some more). Hope you’ll join in for the whobilation by sharing a link to your blog below or tagging us on Instagram with #12DaysOfChristmasBloggerTour