The most important thing to do this holiday season – Houston Chronicle

Posted: December 28, 2020 at 1:49 pm

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We all have a lot to do.

Then when you add the holidays in, typical to-do lists easily double even this year.

Its natural to feel some pressure, and to get caught up in all the doing, but when that happens, we overlook something important.

I caught this in myself recently.

My almost 3-year-old daughter is developmentally delayed and has a host of congenital issues that have required eight surgeries so far and very diligent medical care. That said, shes a feisty and opinionated little person who continues to make unbelievable progress in her own time.

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She is a tough cookie, and while I cringe at how this sounds, Im an aggressive mom. Our girl literally averages about 15 appointments per week, between therapy and doctors visits. And when Im not chauffeuring between sessions, Im doing as much as I can to make learning a constant at home.

Ive considered this to be my job. I believe moms should busily take care of all their kids needs, all while talking, engaging and teaching at every opportunity.

But Ive recently realized that while being focused on this, I am actually, ever so slightly, missing something.

Ive considered quality time with my baby shark, as we call her, to be singing songs that teach her new words, or practicing colors, or pointing out body parts, or learning to work with Legos or playing ball.

But while rereading one of my favorite books, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, it occurred to me that while that stuff is great, doing something at all times is not necessary or even ideal. More is needed. Something different is needed.

Its simple, but so easy to miss: she needs me to put down my perpetual agenda and meet her where she is.

It requires me to step out of autopilot and join her with no ulterior motivesolely with the intention to be together, on her level, and her terms, however that looks right then.

Again, its simple, but shockingly not easy.

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Aiming to do this the other day, I joined her underneath a blanket on the couch, where she likes to chill. It was sweet and cozy, and while cuddling, I found myself filling the space with my usual semi-mindless yammering: How are you, honey? Are you good!? Can you say good!?

She didnt dignify any of this with a response, so I kept going.

Good, good, good. This little girl is good, good, good.

Blah, blah, blah.

To reiterate, theres nothing wrong with this, and of course, it is good to talk to your kids! This is extremely subtle, but it seems that plainly meeting her, without asking 20 questions or prodding her to learn or perform, is tricky for me. Im constantly poking!

The good news is that awareness helps turn things around.

That day on the couch, I caught myself. I stopped trying to take over her moment and snuggled in a little more.

She was lightly stroking the blanket and seemed to be appreciating the warm light under our makeshift tent. I stopped and joined in. Basically, we just sat there together.

Nothing extraordinary happened, and it was only for a few minutes, but it was sweet and a tender enough moment that it stands out to me even a few weeks later. Its now on my radar as just as important as engaging her and working.

I bring this up because its worth remembering if youre around kids a lot. And, its worth remembering if you find yourself pushing, getting stressed, encountering resistance, or just going, going, doing, doing, especially this time of year. Maybe theres an opportunity to pause all that, recognize the moment, and join it.

Even just brief moments of this offers something sweet.

These holidays are undoubtedly different from usual, but the beauty is still right there.

Marci Izard Sharif is an author, yoga teacher, meditation facilitator and mother. In Feeling Matters, she writes about self-love, sharing self-care tools, stories and resources that center around knowing and being kind to yourself. For her classes and more, go to

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The most important thing to do this holiday season - Houston Chronicle

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December 28th, 2020 at 1:49 pm

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