© 2010 Marica

The greatest present

I have been asked in job interviews, “What is your greatest achievement?”

The first time I was asked this question I didn’t need to think long about what I was going to say.

“My children – giving birth to them, growing them, supporting and believing in them, loving them, and being a positive role model for them,” I responded.

By the looks on the interviewer’s faces I knew this wasn’t the kind of achievement they were interested in. They wanted a work achievement not a personal one. I didn’t care. My response wasn’t going to change. The interviewers needed to change the question they were asking if they wanted a different response. The same would be true today.

Being a mother isn’t something you switch on and off. It becomes hardwired into your being from the minute a child is conceived. Everything changes physically in your body as you carry and nurture the growing being within you and by a process of osmosis all other parts of you change as well – what you think and feel, how you see things, what matters to you, what you do and how you do it. Other things change too, such as Christmas.

Ever since I gave birth to my first child the joy of Christmas has centred on being with my children. I have always been determined to give my children memories and traditions of a love filled celebration that they in turn might choose to adapt and incorporate into their adult life. There were times when this was really difficult for me to do because of other things that were going on in our lives. Somehow I managed to find the strength to not give in to these life events (and let me tell you some of them were pretty major!). Adversity has a way of making me me more determined to overcome it. Christmas continued to be celebrated in our home even if compromises had to be made out of necessity from one year to the next.

One of the traditions we established as a family was to always make sure we set aside time on Christmas Day to be alone together, even when we are celebrating this day with others. This is a time when we open presents we have made or bought for each other, when we share something special to eat and drink, and when we simply feel the love of each other’s presence. It is a noisy time with the sound of all of us talking, laughing and even crying (out of happiness off course) and our must-have Christmas music playing in the background. For me this is the heart of Christmas.

This special family time was however a lot easier to achieve when my children were younger. These days we no longer all live in the same house or even the same city or the same country. So began our new Christmas morning tradition. Our solution has been to gather those of us that can be physically present and use technology to bring in those that can’t be. So this morning Lynsey, Damian, Mira, Nathan (Mira’s partner) and I sat around a laptop surrounded by our presents, food and drinks. Zofia, who is currently living in London joined us via Skype even though it was only Christmas Eve for her. And so began approximately three hours of relishing being in each other’s presence.

We have been doing this for three years now. I have come to love this time. I am so grateful for the technology that enables us to still be together despite the fact that the nature of our lives has seen us separated by great distances. It is very definitely simple things that are the greatest presents of all.

Sretan Bozic! Meri Kirihimete! Merry Christmas! to all of you. May you too experience the peace within of being surrounded by love.

05. Every day is now. The present moment.
18. Every day express love. Some people need to hear it. Most people need to see it. Don’t take it for granted.
35. Every day focus on what matters to you.

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