Like for most people the run up to Christmas in our house is a very busy time with lots of different things seemingly requiring immediate attention to make sure everything is organised in time for us all to relax and really enjoy the holidays. To add to our fun we also have two birthdays to arrange, as one of my daughters was born on Christmas day and another two days later. Both naturally like to have their birthdays kept separate from the festive arrangements to ensure that they are personal for them. Obviously this means that I have to work from many lists to ensure that I get everything done on time. I pride myself on being able to accomplish this and resolutely stick to my set programme.
We share our home with our family of dogs and a cat and to make sure they are not left out I also need to factor in to my schedule time for their daily play and exercise. One of our dogs had been very ill and had eventually to be put on steroids to control his condition. One of the side effects of these are that he has gained quite a lot of weigh. To ensure that this is kept under control and to give him some fun, especially as we are so grateful to still have him here with us, I make sure that included in my daily routine as well as normal exercise periods there are several play times for him to chase his ball around the garden. Yesterday I was busy as usual and on checking my watch noticed it was time to take him out to play. As I stood in the garden mechanically flinging the ball for him I was mentally planning what I had to do next. Suddenly I became aware that he was not coming back up with his ball as normal and when I looked I saw that he was half hidden in the bushes. Well his head and shoulders were hidden but his rear end was still sticking out for me to clearly see. Teddy though was unaware that I could see him. In his world because he couldn’t see me I obviously couldn’t see him. For a moment I was puzzled and wondered what on earth he was doing. Then when I shouted his name, I noticed that his tail was wagging and the more I shouted and pretended not to see him the happier and more excited he became until it all eventually became too much for him and he bounced out and ran up to me. His tail was wagging furiously and his face beaming with such joy that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. Then I could have cried as the realisation came to me that Teddy didn’t just want to play ball. That was not the main source of his fun. The “fun” was clearly he and I playing, engaging in having fun together and when he realised that I was not having any fun he had decided to create some for me and bring me back in to the game which was why he had hidden. It got my attention and brought us both back to sharing this time together and mutually benefiting for it. This made me feel a bit emotional because it made me realise that somehow along the way I had lost the meaning. It was not about arranging everything perfectly it was about participating in something together, sharing and really interacting not just going through the motions as a means to an end. Life I think can be a bit like that and sometimes we get so lost in existing that we forget to live and life can pass us bye at a tremendously fast rate. As John Lennon said “ Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” After playing for a while longer I went back in and sat with my lists. I prioritized by keeping the essentials such as food and gifts, I would feel a bit mean if I didn’t provide these, and ripped up the rest and wrote spend quality time with the family. Today we had a lovely trip out to see some beautiful decorations in a local garden center and my eldest daughter, who was sensibly born in August, and her partner treated us all to a lovely coffee and cake. We sat and watched the world go by, chatted and had fun and thanked our Teddy for his little lesson.