As a kid I liked to stare at the lights on our Christmas tree . . .

and then squint.

I loved to see the lights go all stretchy and swirly.

Sometimes happy is like that.  You get so excited you almost hold your breath and then just stay there in that blurry, sparkly moment.  You want it to last.

I was thinking about this last week while driving in the car.  As I passed houses decorated and lit up, I thought about recent happy things–my son singing a solo at his winter chorus concert, my daughter taking the time to paint my nails a festive blue, and making the holiday scavenger hunt for my kids like I’ve done for years.

I got happier thinking about how even though my kids are super cool teenagers they still ran around the house searching for another crazy, rhyming clue written by their mother.  Happy to know that they know there’s no better gift for me than that moment.

But then I had to go and think that next year our daughter will graduate from high school and how this holiday feels different because of that . . .

I got all teary . . .

and almost had to pull over on the side of the road.

Not because I was overcome with emotion.  No, MY EYES WERE BURNING.

It was either lotion or makeup, but some chemical mixed with my tears and dripped into my eyes, blurring my vision.

I swiped and wiped at my stinging eyes until I could see again.

Nothing like a little fire on the cornea to remind me to stay in the present and enjoy the pretty lights.

when i look into the future

(Oh and I can’t help but echo Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights:  “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”)

I leave you with a little White Christmas from my son and his chorus class.

What happy, swirly things are you looking at this holiday season?  

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Wishing you a sparkly, HAPPY holiday.

55 thoughts on “May Your Days Be Merry and Bright

  1. 4amWriter

    Is that your son singing main vocals? Great job! So sorry about your burning eyes. That’s happened to me before, and it is no fun! Merry Christmas, and hope yours is white. We just got a storm today, so maybe it’ll hang on for a week. 🙂

  2. Jennette Marie Powell

    I love Christmas lights! It’s one of my favorite things about the holidays. I woke up not feeling well, so I stayed home from work. I’m feeling better now, but decided to play hooky rather than go in. So I’m enjoying that! And oh, can I relate to the impending-graduation teariness – my daughter graduates this year too! I still can’t believe it.

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      I’m glad you’re feeling better Jennette! Better so you can enjoy your day “off.” 🙂
      And as far as our daughters, don’t you feel like you’re on some weird countdown this whole senior year?

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      AH! It DOES look like a shower curtain, now that you say that. LOL. No, it’s actually a photo of a small Christmas tree with the lights off and moving the camera–and then adding texture. I was just playing around. Wow, I made a shower curtain. Ha ha.
      Thanks Stephanie!

      1. stephanie

        Hahaha! I laughed out loud at the edited captions. Your photography is lovely. I just need seeing lessons.

        1. Coleen Patrick Post author

          I got such a laugh out of seeing what you pointed out Stephanie. You don’t need seeing lessons–I know from your blog that your point of view always gets me to smile!

  3. Debra Kristi

    What a lovely rendition. Thank you for sharing. There’s something so beautiful about the holidays and the holiday lights that can get me emotional as well. I can never get enough of the lights, I just love them. But the tears tend to make my eyes itchy. That’s probably my cat though.

  4. Catherine Johnson

    Wow, Coleen I love that solo, you must be one proud mama! I love live performances like that. I’m going to show Matthew what he’s got to do when he’s older lol. Sorry about your eyes, it’s awful tearing up while driving. Really cool about the treasure hunt! Happy Christmas to you all xxx

  5. Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

    Ouch! I hate it when I rub something in my eyes (likely alcohol from my frequent hand sanitizer use).

    Your son sings great! I’m always impressed with talent. I went to our local high school band’s Christmas concert a couple of weeks ago. I swear that no symphony orchestra could have done better.

    As for the first picture…I thought it was a shower curtain, too. 🙂

    Merry Christmas, Coleen! If you wind up with snow between now and then, please send some my way. Mid-Michigan has yet to see even a quarter of an inch of the white stuff. I want to postpone Christmas!!!

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Snow is very random here in central Virginia. But I’m surprised about Michigan! I lived near Detroit when I was a kid and remember LOTS of snow! Here’s to a white Christmas Kristy!

      1. Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

        I have a friend who lives near Rosedale, VA, and they had more snow than we did last winter. Thanks to Sandy, they’ve already had a whole lot more than we’ve seen this year. 🙁

        And I know what you mean about Detroit. I grew up in Lansing, and we always had a lot of snow. I’m ready to move to the North Pole for the winter. 🙂

  6. Julie Hedlund

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had some god-forsaken chemical from lotion or sunscreen get into my eyes and cause the same chaos!

    Your son’s performance was spectacular! You must be very proud.

  7. Julie Glover

    How wonderful to hear Gavin sing after his wonderful appearance on my blog! 🙂 What a beautiful and mature voice he has. (Enjoy those times now, Gavin! I miss singing in a choir like I did in high school.)

  8. Patricia

    That was a proud momma moment right there! Your son has a very nice voice!

    I do the squinty eye at my christmas tree too and I love the blurry lights. Makes me feel sparkly inside.

    Merry Christmas!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  9. Patricia Titon

    Wow — think of you with young kids. Thank you for sharing the wonderful video of your son singing “White Christmas.” He has a beautiful voice and I liked how he made the song his own. Can’t believe you have a daugter graduating from high school. Such a beautiful post today! Merry Christmas!

  10. Paul

    I’m teary-eyed too, this year. Not because my son is graduating but because he’s going to be 30 YEARS OLD! How did that happen? I just bought him a transformer for Christmas and tucked him into bed in his Superman pajamas

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      Someone, somewhere must’ve messed with a flux capacitor. I’m just saying. It was Power Rangers and Barbies around here like a minute ago.
      Thanks Paul. 🙂

  11. Pat O'Dea Rosen

    Love your son’s rendition of White Christmas!

    A neighbor’s front yard is filled with unrelated, light-up Christmas decor: a flying Santa, an inflatable snowman, gift-wrapped packages, four-foot-high candles, a life-sized angel, a train, and so on. If looked at straight on, the arrangement’s jarring, but if I squint, the lights melt into a thing of beauty. Keep squinting!

  12. Kourtney

    Aw it’s always hard when you think ahead. Staying in the moment has been a mantra of mine lately. Things are so simple right this second. It’s the next second that complicates stuff. 😉 Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!


  14. Emily R. King

    My babies are still young, but I can imagine how difficult it must be knowing next holiday season things around your household will be different. I guess that makes this Christmas even more special!

    Merry Christmas, Coleen. Enjoy your time with your family!

  15. Lynn Kelley

    Wow, I really did think that was a shower curtain! LOL! You always have gorgeous pics, Coleen. Bummer about the burning eyes. I hate it when that happens, especially when driving! I think it’s wonderful that your son and daughter still do the scavenger hunt and what a cool mom you are to plan it. I’m running behind and wonder how I’m going to pull off Christmas this year! I hope your family has tons more holiday fun. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

  16. August McLaughlin

    *SNIFF* That video just made ME tear up, and brought me back to one of the few bits of high school I enjoyed. 😉 Happy holidays, Coleen! Thanks for sharing your talents and your son’s with us. What voices!

  17. Chris Edgar

    And there I was worrying that your shower curtain was on fire. Just playing — actually, the photo has a Mondrian-like abstract quality to me. Your son has quite the voice. I take it he has theatrical aspirations?

  18. Alarna Rose Gray

    Hey there Coleen! I’m going to be looking at sea spray, and squinting against the golden sun sparkling on the sand. Not quite the same white Christmas you’ll be having, but I’m looking forward to breathing for a bit.

    Thanks so much for all your support and friendship this year. Look forward to catching you in 2013! 🙂

  19. Born Bookish

    Next time I look at my Christmas tree I’m going to subconsciously squint, haha. I’ve always loved looking at Christmas lights, my mom, sister, and I used to pop a big bowl of popcorn, make hot chocolate and drive around town looking at all the lights =)

    Thanks for lighting up by day with this post, and MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and your family!!

  20. Inion N. Mathair

    Unbelievable Coleen~! I thought I was the only one who did that. I start on the twelth of December and have since my daughter was five and my son a toddler. We call it the twelve days of Christmas. Each day, they open a rolled paper with the first day of Christmas (poem/song) on it, and then the clue, which leads to another, and so on…. That’s fantastic! Your a great mother! And my kids tell me, that they don’t feel Christmas starts until the twelve days starts. As for the video, you must be so proud. Beautiful. The picture (though it does look like a shower curtain which made me laugh like crazy after reading your note) I felt you wanted us to see as if we were squinting without having too. Great meaning behind the story. Loved this and will send out to our networking friends for all to read. Merry Christmas. By the way, just picked up a mention about you on a mutual friend and great gal. Alarna Rose Gray.

  21. susielindau

    So beautiful Coleen! Somehow I missed this one!
    I think I started getting misty eyed at the same period of time and it hasn’t stopped since the kids left for college. They only stayed two nights over Christmas! Letting go is hard, but I remember wanting to fly!
    Merry New Year!

    1. Coleen Patrick Post author

      I can feel that flying thing too, Susie. It’s good to have that–and I can tell by your adventurous, wild ride blog that you are making a spectacular go at flying. 🙂

  22. Luis Ortiz Flores

    CommentChristmas is a great thing. I wish that Christmas is celebrated twice a year. At home we do not remove the Christmas decorations for months.

    Your son has talent. Write songs for your son, your son sing those songs on radio stations and be famous.

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