‘But mama, we want to go sledding with you.’ Both girls looked at me with pleading eyes. I knew I had to go. I paused.’: Mom struggles to drop everything for her kids during holidays

“It Was a Silent Night….

Snow Day…. Before Christmas…. in the month of December, for the working mom or any mom, it might as well be a natural disaster.

I looked around my house at the projects planned for the day slowly drifting away as the reality of four kids at home set in. Boxes of Christmas decorations yet to be hung, laundry to be folded, groceries to be bought, meals to be planned, gifts to buy, cards to address, and emails piling up, each thought triggered a new wave of anxiety. And of course, let’s not forget, kids to be fed every…. hour…. on… the… hour.

I took a deep breath and tried to tackle that next right thing only be interrupted with: ‘Can we go sledding?!’ begged my six-year-old Carolina.

‘Absolutely in a little while. How about a Christmas movie!’

‘Yay! Will you watch it with us?’

‘Yes, in just a bit.’ But I knew they would forget, and I might have a chance at getting something done, which I did. But it didn’t take long until they were back.

‘Can we pleeease go sledding?’ whined my eight-year-old Sofia.

‘Yep in just a little while. How about a writing a letter to Santa?’ I knew 10-year-old son would help the little girls and I just might be able to clean out the fridge and answer a few emails, part of my usual Monday routine. Lucky for me one thing led to another. They played, they drew, they fought, played a little more, and before I knew it, I looked at the clock and it was 4:30 pm. The sun was setting as dusk fell gently casting blue-gray shadows on the newly fallen snow.

‘Mama, can we go sledding now?’

It was now or never.

‘Yes, of course. Get dressed and I will watch you from the window.’

Courtesy Niro Feliciano

‘But mama, we want to go sledding with you.’ Both little girls looked at me with pleading eyes.

I knew I had to go.

I paused. I looked around boxes still unpacked, dishes to be done, dinner not yet cooked, and snow-day mess abounding, but this time instead of my mental checklist on repeat, I heard something different. What I heard was a voice, that small voice that gently whispered, ‘How much longer will they want to do this with you?’

My mind raced to my almost 13 year old, my first baby, who earlier that week disclosed to me that she didn’t believe anymore and in fact hadn’t for two years. I thought about her running downstairs early Christmas morning, before any of her siblings were born, looking to see if the carrots and cookies she left out had been eaten. My heart ached deeply, palpably, for just a moment, but I quickly smiled and said, ‘Guess what you’re doing tonight?’ and just like that the newest elf was born.

Courtesy Niro Feliciano

Because it IS just like that…And I’ve noticed the ‘little whiles’ turn into tomorrows, and the tomorrows into weeks, and weeks into years and it all happens in a blink. Everyone tells you this, but one day you begin to feel it and it’s a feeling that stays for a long while. Before you know it they are taller than you, stronger than you, busier than you and have more important things to do than you.

I began to realize this was not an ‘I Have To,’ it was an ‘I Get To’. Because there are thousands of women who pray they will ‘get to’ and they never do. Because even in December, families still can’t buy, mamas still lose babies, single moms still work late, chemo treatments still go on, kids still split holidays and the ocean of grief only gets deeper.

So in that moment, I dropped everything, put on my boots, my gloves and hat and we went. Because, isn’t that what this season is about? Dropping everything to go and witness the extraordinary in the ordinary?

Isn’t that what they did?

As we made our way through the darkening shadows in the snow, climbing our backyard hill I breathed in the cold, crisp air, watching as they threw themselves down to create their own personal angels. Though their piercing laughter echoed loud through the bare trees lit by the rising moon, it was the most peaceful place on earth and a moment for this mama to be still and take in the wonder and glory of my everyday miracle. It was my silent night.

As I took a mental snapshot to be tucked away in corner of my Christmas memories, I knew they would remember this day, too. Because I can’t recall the gifts or the wrapping or the carefully placed ornaments of my childhood, but I will always remember the love and the laughter and the mess- the joyous, colorful, comforting post-Christmas mess- that didn’t bother me one bit.

So drop everything and go.

Every chance you get, while you get the chance.

Because the most extraordinary happened in the ordinary and still does today. One thing I know, it will be your best yes yet.”

Courtesy Niro Feliciano

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Niro Feliciano, 43, of Wilton, Connecticut Niro Feliciano, LCSW is a wife, mom of 4, and psychotherapist.  Follow her journey on Instagram here and her website here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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