Enjoying winter break

This year I’ve done something that I often warn parents about and have consciously avoided for years – I overloaded our family schedule and it’s simply too full for comfort.  It was easy to do – the difference between a schedule that is pleasantly full and one that is too full can be just one activity/class a week.  I have something outside of the house scheduled every day of the week, and different children have various outside commitments most days of the week as well, so I don’t get as much of the relaxing family time as I would like. 

And so I’m now especially appreciating ‘winter break’.  We have a two week break from our history class, co-op classes, piano lessons, and it is SO nice!  It doesn’t feel too quiet – it feels just right.  I’m really loving being able to spend lots more time at home just being with the kids.  I’ll have to remind myself of this for the coming year! 

Something that I did with my more relaxed schedule this week was to check out two movies from the library and watch them.  I don’t watch movies often; firstly it’s hard for me to find movies that meet my criteria, and secondly, it’s hard for me to find the time to watch them.  Now that I’ve watched them, I’m definitely ready for a very long break of not watching anything!  I like meaningful movies but after watching these two on top of the last two months of three highly emotional relationship situations that I’ve dealt with, my emotions are on overdrive!  I should have found a good comedy!

Last night I watched something about a 23 year old mother of two who was diagnosed with two months to live, and how she spent those two months.  It was a very thought-provoking movie, and what I particularly was pondering was that she chose not to tell anyone that she was dying.  This bothered me but it took me a while to put my finger on why, in the meantime prompting conversations with ds11, dd14, and later dh as I asked them their opinions.  I finally realized that what bothered me was as brave and selfless a thing it was to do – to spare loved ones of worry and leave them with happy memories, bearing the lonely burden of the knowledge on herself – it didn’t give the people in her life a chance to make their last months with her meaningful, or for them to have time to prepare themselves.  

Sometimes there are things you do that you’re uncomfortable with, because it’s better for those you love.  For example, an older friend recently passed away and chose not to have any speeches at the service.  I don’t know why she made this decision, though I know despite being a remarkable person in many ways, she was very unassuming and felt there was nothing special about her.  But even though she was so humble, I felt that it would have been a comfort for those left behind to be encouraged and inspired by the memories that would have been shared.  

Then the next movie was also about family relationships, between an elderly father and his grown children who cancelled the family reunion, so he went around the country to visit them and found that things in their lives weren’t as they had been presented to him.  This was a very well-done movie but as a parent I found this somewhat depressing, even though there was a nice resolution.  It made me think about our parents getting older, and that one day I’ll be getting older, and hoping that we can all continue to have warm and loving feelings towards one another.    

 Tomorrow I’m going to enjoy going to our homeschool gathering and chatting with friends, and tomorrow night it will be early bedtime for me – I think that will be more renewing than anything else! 


3 thoughts on “Enjoying winter break

  1. Your point about the 1st movie is so true:

    “It didn’t give the people in her life a chance to make their last months with her meaningful, or for them to have time to prepare themselves. ”

    I know of a young lady that was doing charity work in Russia, when her mother was diagnosed w/cancer. Her family chose not to ‘burden’ her, & she continued working there almost up to when her mother died. She had 1 or 2 month, when she might have had almost a yr with her mother. She had a lot of resentment & even rebellion for a while.

  2. I agree with your thoughts on the movie. In a course I’m taking, I had the assignment of thinking through what made the dying process easier. My first point was that preparation makes it easier on the ones left behind.

    1. I think the movie was made from a perspective only based on the needs of the dying woman that is inherently selfish. I watched the behind the scenes material hoping to learn what the message was supposed to be (didn’t succeed!), and it seems they viewed this character as inspiring with her strength. We have a love affair with independence in our culture and this was an extension of that value, to go to the very end without telling anyone of your needs, so it seems laudable in that context. Until you take into account all the people left behind and that everything can’t revolve around the wants of just one person.

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