Some how it is December 2017. In a typical weekday evening at home, I am reminded why this time of year has the uncanny ability to fill your heart with cheer….and boil it over with overwhelm and stress.
I was home later than I wanted to be. Unable to wrap up completely at work, doing the best I can to meet the needs of here and now and today. As always. I walk in. My kids are cute, hungry, 3 and 5 years old. They go from adorable to hangry monsters within the first 20 minutes of my arrival. I had wanted to make the gingerbread man due at school with my daughter. She is in Kindergarten and helping her with her projects is a precious experience, one I consciously try to fit in my schedule as busy as it can be. She starts gluing and using glitter (of course) on the kitchen table and for a moment I am startled by the rapid sequence of mess making that ensues. I go to say something and then catch myself. I remember, this is on the N.A.B.D. list. Not A Big Deal.
We started the NABD list when my son turned 3. Three is precious, and terribly challenging. My son can be the worlds cutest human and then a beast within seconds. When the threenager collided with the emotional mood swings of a kindergartener we coined the term. I have said countless times in the last six months…
“Honey, there are BDs (Big Deals) and NABDs which one is this?” That is right, NABD. Not A Big Deal. Almost always.
As I sit to join the gingerbread project it becomes apparent that food must appear immediately in front of the 3 year old. But the window was missed and now he is in his room having a fit. I am whisked to cooking. To be fair, I am lucky and this is not my typical role. My husband is a phenomenal cook. I will forever be the mom that just “made food.” Healthy, yes. Tasty, not always. But my husband is working late tonight. I cook fast and furiously and have tacos on the table in no time. Phew. We can all eat and relax. We talk about the good things and the challenges of our day.
The glitter is moved to the appropriate art table and we dive in. There is glitter everywhere now, a little on each surface and the floor. Gingerbread man turns out beautiful. Turns out this is a BD (Big Deal), doing art with your child. I am amazed at the calm it brings me to come into the moment and glue the fine details when she needs my help. Then the 3 year old gets wind of the glitter project and more glitter goes everywhere. Of course. Not A Big Deal.
I am reminded of the book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson. I never read it but always wished I had. I felt I learned it all in the title. I probably missed some key elements since I just figured out the N.A.B.D. list and the book was published in 1997. Yes, that was 20 years ago.
My husband comes home. The dog, who is a hundred pound eight year old fur baby wags his tail vigorously in a very cute fashion. He also happens to whack the closest child cup that spills milk across the entire room. Couch, floor, art table. Luckily not the precious gingerbread man was safe, having moved to a higher surface for stabilization and drying. For a moment I look at the mess and think, “Are you kidding me?” Then I remind myself. Spilled milk. And you know what they say about spilled milk? Not worth crying over. Not A Big Deal.
It is the holidays, officially. What can you let go of? What can get crossed off the infinite “List” of “to do” so that you can have some more moments “to be”? In giving ourselves permission to add to our N.A.B.D. list we make room for the things that are a B.D.
Let the Big Deals sink in. If it is Not A Big Deal, let it go.