Sisters, many of us are all running around like crazy people today. It is very nearly Christmas and it is always, always the sisters who are making the world go around this time of year. I have one word I’m trying to keep in my head today; maybe you have problems with it, too? It’s enough.
We’re enough. It’s been my mantra all year, but it’s been shocking to admit how hard it has been, how much I have often – over my whole life, it turns out – not believed it. The holidays always seem to make this problem worse; I think that’s true for people with all kinds of bad habits. But just because the voice gets louder doesn’t mean it’s speaking the truth. We’re enough.
Almost every mother in the world is wondering if she needs to go back out one last time, just to “even things out”. I hope you can, instead of giving in to that voice in your head telling you that you’d better get a few more things, that it’s not enough, and then heading out into the frenzy, make yourself a cup of tea and sit for a sec. Show our daughters what enough looks like, which turns out to be exactly what they look like, so they can know, too.
It is the unsung story of the season, I think, the uncertainty, the worries of not-enough-ness. Even in the Christmas story as it’s told, there’s so much that is, as my son would say, “not great, gotta tell ya”. A young family embarking on holiday travel, planned too late to get the good fares, convenient travel times, or a halfway decent hotel. The totally inadequate itinerary, the completely suboptimal circumstances. We know the flashier parts of the story: the guidance of a really bright star (how lucky!), the friendly shepherds, the cozy manger, the promise of the season. We know the tale well; it always works out great in the end, what with the heavenly hosts and all. It’s like watching It’s a Wonderful Life for the twentieth time; we don’t worry too much about George Bailey on rerun. But it probably didn’t seem that way at the time. It probably felt like a bit of a disaster. It’s maybe only a sweet story in retrospect, like today will be next week, when the sisters’ heroic efforts have inked another great Christmas in the books. Until then, it’s the journey I’m thinking most about, the scarcity of certainty, of planning, of reservations, of purpose, of doing it right. The worries of not-enough-ness, and the making-do.
It is a bit of a holiday miracle every year, but you will get enough sleep to function, and they’ll be enough coffee, and enough festivity, to carry you through. You will have enough love and good sense to overlook what is not important and to notice and be present for what is. You will have enough wrapping paper, and if you run out you, you will have enough flexibility and creativity to make it work. You have more than enough for that one kid – maybe she is your middle child, or the one who has to work so hard in school – for whom you never feel, though you are wrong about this, that you have, or are, enough. There’s enough of you, there’s enough room, even if that room feels substandard at the moment. To those who love you – because we can see this so clearly in our sisters, in a way we often cannot for ourselves – you are so much more than enough.