Every year most people rush about, keeping hectic schedules while trying to get ready for Christmas.
I always found that everyday life is busy enough. There is seldom time to get everything done. Then, throw in the gazillion tasks of "getting ready for Christmas" and the time constraints grow tighter.
OK, now throw planning a wedding into the Christmas rush mix and the only word that comes to mind is insanity – at least when it comes to a time crunch.
By the time you read this, I will be in the final stages of getting ready for my Dec. 29th wedding. I have to swallow hard just by typing those words.
When I left Pennsylvania for Florida, I never envisioned meeting someone like Dave. And never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be getting married again.
But after two years of sharing life's daily adventures with David, I know more and more each day that we are meant to be united in the sacrament of marriage.
Many people have told us that planning a wedding is stressful. We resolved that wouldn't happen to us because we were downplaying wedding details. We didn't want to be so caught up in dumb stuff like picking wedding favors and planning a reception. Instead, we wanted to focus on what is important – our relationship, our families, and our future together.
But what I learned is that denial will only get you so far. By putting off planning the details of our wedding, all we did was to create a last minute crunch. Translation: We let everything go till the last minute and now I'm stressed.
During our last meeting with the priest who will marry us, he was a little surprised at how much we still needed to do. He said we needed to hustle to buy wedding rings or else he would have to resort to using paper clips. I didn't think finding a wedding band for David would be hard – until we tried looking in three counties and still couldn't find a suitable size 13 ring he liked.
Finally, we found a jewelry store that promises to get one here on time. But just barely. If it doesn't get here on time, we might be using a paper clip after all.
We know we wouldn't be having so much of a time crunch if we weren't being married during Christmas week. But second weddings require a lot more consideration and we had to find a time when our adult children and grandchildren could be here. Because school is not in session during the week between Christmas and New Year's, that was the time frame our families wanted.
We're in the final countdown now and there is still a lot to be done. Just finding accommodations for both families and planning meals to feed everyone each day is keeping us busy enough. And I'm so excited at the thought of seeing everyone that I am running on high octane.
We keep each other calm with three words: "It doesn't matter."
His son, who will be our best man, won't fly in from North Dakota in time to order a formal tux. We said he can wear his own suit. It doesn't matter what anyone wears.
Our wedding favors, ordered from a catalog, are a bit ugly. It doesn't matter. Nothing matters about the wedding except having our dear family and close friends to celebrate with us.
I'm going to have to rely somewhat on Sam's Club prepared food rather than cooking everything from scratch for our multiple Christmas week meals. It doesn't matter. As much as I love to cook, I realize happiness does not depend on "everything homemade."
Details don't matter. We're keeping our eye on the prize – having each other and we're not stressing over the rest.
Then why do I have muscle spasms in my back while I sit here longing for the gift of doing nothing? Friends tell us "doing nothing" will come soon enough after the wedding. We don't believe it.
We've never been the type to "do nothing." We're both so actively engaged in life that our days aren't long enough to do all the fun things we enjoy.
But no matter how pressed for time we are, or how "engaged in life" we become, we both find plenty of time to thank God for all the blessings in our lives.
I am thankful that this year we can have the most precious Christmas gift of all – having family with us. Florida is so glorious in our so called "winter season." There is not much that says "winter" except the profusion of flowers that flourish better at this time of year. Yet, Dave and I have a hard time enticing our family members to come here for the holidays. We are always the ones who travel north. We joke that we had to plan our wedding around Christmas just to get out of doing that.
We are so excited at the thought of having our two families together. In addition to wedding plans, we are planning activities we can all do together.
Family members and close friends keep asking me what I want for Christmas. They are giving me the gift of their presence. How could I want more? The same thing goes for wedding gifts. As I've often said, presence is the greatest gift of all.
All I can say is my heart is overflowing. I know I'll never have another Christmas week like this one so I am going to enjoy every minute, despite the stress.