To read part 1 of Nikole’s Holiday Confession, click here.
I feel guilty when my limitations force others to have to alter their holiday expectations. Like, how do I tell my aunt that I can’t eat her “famous” pumpkin pie without insulting her? How do I fit in when my friends invite me to a cookie party?
I have to tell you, there are a lot of great healthy versions of recipes out there, but bringing a sugar, gluten, dairy free dessert to a festive gathering that only I touch, does not help me fit in or feel celebratory! It doesn’t give me that indulgent spirit of the feel-good season that I want to feel like a normal, healthy person that gets to enjoy it. It’s not about cookies, it’s about pretending I am not leashed to the limitations of my body for one blissful month, expressed through eating cookies. I’ll put out of my mind that month is followed by two months of recovery.
How do we balance the lure of the holiday exceptions with the trap of making them the rule in our lives?
I think the real answer goes deeper than the shallow quip of more self-discipline. It goes into the more raw places of our honesty. The truth is we need to love and accept ourselves along with our weaknesses and limitation more.
For me, as a mom, the holidays are a time when it really hones in my focus on the people around me. I start worrying about how to make the holidays a grand affair of beloved moments for my family. I don’t want to miss a single memory because chronic illness has a way of making our time a lot more precious. I worry a lot less, almost none at all, about how to make the holidays a time of taking care of myself. I have a very hard time accepting the limitations my health puts on me during the high-pressure season of trying to be extra caring for those around me. Consequently, the exceptions begin.
It’s not just food either, it’s the entire holiday hustle. I stay up later than my body needs towrap presents while my children are asleep. I run around more than I physically should to attend holiday celebrations and functions. I worry more. I give into the pressures of the season to do one more thing to celebrate, decorate, anticipate, and participate in the most wonderful time of the year. Until my health forces me to reconcile with all of those exceptions. It is a brutally hard slam into the wall of health limitations come January.
WHAT I REALLY NEED TO ACCEPT IS THAT IT’S NOT MY EFFORTS, BUT MY LOVE, THAT MAKES THE HOLIDAYS GREAT FOR THE PEOPLE IN MY LIFE.
No matter how many extra little touches of cheer I place around our home or seasonal activities I squeeze in, it’s not what makes the holidays great for us. All of the cookies and pumpkin pie in the world can’t replace the fact that I love the people in my life so much that I would make those compromises for them.