Okay the overwhelming feeling of “what am I doing” and “how will I get this all done” has been slowly building. As much as I try to stay on top of every detail, you can’t and inevitably things get missed or you literally fall over. That was my week and last night, as I tried to make yet another to-do list, my brain was like, stop, just stop. I fell asleep with pencil and paper in hand and didn’t wake up until my husband snuck in from his dj gig.
This morning however, I’m back. To-do list for work and home from now through after Christmas, complete. The Pugliano Family will be a busy bunch but we’ll get it all done and have a tons of fun.
The morning was designated to planning. I’ll be working on Barrels to Beethoven today preparing the organization goals for 2016. Finishing up sending off two proposals and starting a new grant application. Straightforward clients are all wrapped up for the year but happily I’m planning out work and already scheduling meetings with potential clients for the New Year. We are also planning a re-launch for 2016. Straightforward has done a lot of things now it’s time to streamline. That will be difficult.
The early evening the girls and I will be heading to East Liberty to celebrate the talented young musicians in the Soundwaves Steel Band. Mat Docktor, the director of the band, is my bandmate in Rhythm ‘n’ Steel, I definitely want to support him and I am always and forever proud of his students, they’re very talented. After that? “Sharin’ in the Groove” yoga class at Cube with artist, Sarah Zeffiro and live music from one of my favorite musicians, and bandmate, Brett Staggs. This will not only be a great time but proceeds benefit The Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank. Supporting great people and giving back.
The day begins with a 10am birthday party 45 minutes away and since we are heading to grandmas house afterward, the entire family needs to get dressed and go. Just say a prayer. Saturday afternoon you may hear sounds of laughter and joy bouncing off the hills of Pittsburgh, that’s because my mother is watching the girls all weekend. A surprise gesture that could not come at a better time. They will spend the next 24+ hours having fun with their cousins, laughing, playing and being very well taken care of. I could not be more grateful. Especially since babysitting was apparently not a blessing we were supposed to receive this year.
Once the girls are gone. We’ll spend a few hours Christmas Shopping before heading home. David has another gig Saturday night so he’ll leave around 5PM. I’ll spend a few hours doing laundry and cleaning while the girls are away before meeting up with a friend. We’ll be heading to the new Ace Hotel for the Teenie Harris exhibit. I’m excited for what will surely being an exceptional exhibit in a beautiful space. Hopefully, because the girls are with my parents, David and I will be able to meet up at some point in the evening after his gig.
My husband makes the best Belgium Waffles, hopefully the fresh strawberries, whipped cream, new pack of bacon and Prosecco in the fridge will inspire him to make them. That will make for an amazing Sunday morning meal with just the two of us, that we’ll get to enjoy without getting up. We will even be able to have a conversation…without interruption. Next on the to do list? We’re wrapping presents! Every present must be wrapped before the girls come home. No exceptions. After that we’ll head to church without the girls prepared to answer to the countless people who will ask us where our children are. Some may not recognize us at all without them.
I am really looking forward to Sunday evening. We’ll gather the girls from my parents home, deal with the stress of getting them primp and proper in a foreign location before heading to the home of a new friend. She has invited us to her meet at her home before attending her church’s Christmas celebration. I feel like it is such a blessing to meet women strong in their faith, and she’s one. I am looking forward to an uplifting evening with a wonderful group of people.
I’ll try to get some work done for my two upcoming events. Stella and Cecelia will be home and I won’t have Sofia (aka the worlds best big sister) home to babysit. The thought that Christmas is only a few days away will surely have them excited.
Tuesday will be another exciting but busy day for us. We’re hosting an event, “Gather and Give” a sweater and drive and holiday gathering. I’ve invited family, friends, and all of the people we’ve collaborated with this year to gather together and help some families in need. It will be a special night.
Christmas Eve. In the morning, will be delivering the sweaters collected the night before to the Salvation Army Family Center.
The day before Christmas has always been a special day for me. Going to mass, gathering for a family dinner , reading to the girls before we tuck them into bed with so much excitement they can barely sleep… I don’t think there are better moments much better than that. Christmas Eve mass is always special but even more so this year. Stella will be reading at mass and singing in the choir. Sofia will read and play her steelpan. She has been practicing every day. I know my cheeks will hurt from smiling and my eyes will be full of tears. Feel free to be a little envious of my Catholic church that is good to our family and apparently loves the steelpan. I feel very blessed.
All in All
This Christmas we are celebrating family. Our family. We are proud of who we are. And, although we thought our family / village would be a little larger, we know our girls feel loved and that is most important.
Our family is what I’ve always thought families should be and the kind of family I have always wanted. We laugh together, dance in the kitchen, read stories (or make up stories) at bedtime, make music, have difficult conversations, support one another, kiss, hug and say “I love you.” With hard work and continued support from those who love us, I pray that we will continue to be this way as our girls grow into adults. I want them to always feel an overwhelming sense of love and support.
The message I’ve been teaching my girls this season and really all year long, is one of kindness, empathy and inclusion. Especially empathy. We discussed that a lot this year. I know the concept is not something many parents discuss with their small children, but we’ve encountered so many inconsiderate people this year that I realized this was a lesson I wanted my children to learn early. Empathy; the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. At first, my girls did not understand what this meant, but after sharing some stories and examples as well as discussing what the behaviors may look like, they did. Kindness, like love, it’s an action. It has to be shown or given to be able to be received. Inclusion, a tough lesson that had to be taught during times of exclusion.
As I was teaching these lessons to my girls I realized something. Although they may not have clearly understood the words, meaning or terminology, they innately understand the behaviors. My girls are very kind, very empathetic towards others and inclusive, they don’t like for other children or anyone to feel left out. What a blessing. What a gift.
Christmas Day I will be happy and grateful. Counting my blessings and feeling that overwhelming sense of joy that I feel every year.