it’s always after it’s over

that i realize the things i should have done differently.  the things i should have said.

it’s always after my kids are tucked into bed that i realize i should have held them more.  kissed them more.  told them i love them more.

it’s always when they’re at school that i realize i should have been sweeter when they woke up.  i should have been quieter.  i should have been softer.  i should have been at least a little more excited about the gift of a new day.

it’s always on our ride home from school that i realize i should have been more excited to see them when they exited the school building after a long day.

it’s always after a holiday is finished being celebrated that i realize i should have celebrated more.  i should have taught them how to celebrate.

we put our tree up last night.  and i was intense.  i was telling the kids to quiet down.  to get out of the way.  to stop jumping around.  to stop being crazy.  basically to stop being kids.

and as i sat on the couch, after they were in bed, i realized i should have sat on the couch with them and pulled them close as josh plugged in the tree and the white lights began to sparkle.  i should have shared with them about how i love Christmas.  and why i love Christmas.  and why i love white Christmas lights.  and why i love watching their dad work on the tree.  and why i love them.  and how i love watching the lights twinkle in their eyes.

and i shared this with josh.  and i hope to do better.  and i pray i remember before hand that i want to do better instead of realizing after it’s over, that i should have done better.

and tonight i read this.  and i love it.  and i needed it.  and i’m grateful.

“Then we dragged out our Christmas decorations and set to work for the rest of the afternoon together. The tinies were so excited and we’re drifting into the years when they have precedent, when they remember what we did last year, when they can’t wait to open up the box and see their ornaments from the year before. It reminded me again that this is their time, their childhood and these are the memories they’ll have, the standard and expectations for their grown-up Christmases.”