Sometimes as parents, we are granted wonderful moments of true clarity.  For me, one such moment came after an afternoon walk with my daughters.

Our walk led to the discovery of an abundant supply of tiny pinecones at the end of our street, which immediately needed to be gathered, stowed in the back of a tricycle, and brought home to make pinecone soup.  With nothing else on my calendar, no where else to be but right here, I carried pinecones and tiny dishes and sat down to share in the meal.  It was delicious…

The freshness of the autumn air.

The crunch and earthy smell of the fallen leaves around us.  

A fiery pink and orange sunset, giving way to the quiet, slow darkening of the sky.

It was the simple joy of watching my children mix pinecones and sand and bring to life stories from their own imaginations.

That act of being truly present with our children can be so difficult.  I know that my head is usually swirling with to-do lists and notes to myself- there’s a regular running commentary!  But when I gave myself the time and the permission to do nothing else but make pinecone soup, I was able to experience so much more with my children.

During this moment of clarity, I thought a bit about the holiday season now upon us.  I know there will be many to-do lists and notes-to-self, many places to be and people to see, but I also know that there is pure delight around every corner, just waiting for us to notice it and share it with our children.

In the midst of all the holiday preparations, where can you slow down and make time to just be with your family?  What feelings from your childhood do you remember and want to experience with your own children?  Can you start new traditions that capture who you are as a family right now?

Make time for these things.  Put them on the calendar, if necessary.  Let us do what is meaningful now, while the pinecone soup is still simmering on the stove.