Husband & Wife Articles

Simple Joys

Learning from my children to the live in the moment

By Patrice E. Athanasidy

This coming Sunday we will light the third candle on the Advent wreath. The sole pink candle among the purple points to the joy that is on its way.

I greet the pink candle with ambivalent feelings. As the Mom who is in charge of making the holiday happen, the pink candle often glows as a beacon for all I still have to do with only one more candle to light before Christmas Day.  Yet my children greet the candle with true joy. They are preparing without worrying about all there is to do. They live in the moment and I need to look at them and remember to do the same.

Patrice and William Athanasidy pose with their three children.

Charlotte, 12, has been practicing Christmas carols on her guitar. For the past few years, my husband has taught her a different carol each year. She hopes to add another this year. I need to take some time and just absorb the carols and the simplicity of one of my own children singing while playing guitar in the living room.

My son, Peter, keeps asking when the “Give a Gift” person will get his gift. He is so excited to think that a little girl is going to get a pink tag reader. So from him, I need to learn to enjoy the excitement while purchasing the gifts. It is not just to check another gift off my list, but to truly get into the spirit of excitement about how the person will feel when he or she receives the gift.

My youngest, Kit, turns 8 just before the pink candle is lit. This seems to be the year that she is reminding us of all our traditions. There are times I do not realize I have created a tradition, but my children love some of the littlest things we have done over the years. Apparently I always have new ornaments to add to the tree when we decorate. Kit also reminded Bill that we decorate the outside of the house before the inside. This week the wreaths and candles will go in the windows. I always tell my family it is a great way to continue our preparation — we add light to the nights of Advent to signal the coming joy.

So this year, as we prepare to light the pink candle, I will try to forget about the presents I still need to wrap. I will not think about the Christmas cards that often turn into New Year’s cards. I will watch the excitement build in Charlotte, Peter and Kit, and realize that children may actually understand the season better than we think.

They know to live in the moment, and to enjoy each part of the preparation as well as Christmas Day. For them it is not a race to the finish. It is a collection of moments to celebrate the joy in its purest form. Christmas is coming. Let us rejoice and be glad.

Patrice E. Athanasidy writes from Westchester, New York.