We opened Christmas presents from each other early this morning.  Ava made me two notebook sheets covered with stickers and the letter, “A,” and somehow, she managed to get all the way to Chicago to pick up a box of Fannie May Chocolates.  It’s cliche really, but no gift that I truly cherished, would be found under a tree this year.

I sat for a a few moments this morning, overlooking the wrath of strewn about wrapping paper and gift tags.  My thoughts traveled to the darker corners of my mind as I tried to pinpoint the gifts of the past year.  These past 12 months were a testament to adversity, and refusing to be a part of the status quo.  I met incredible individuals, people whose passion sparked intense discussions and wonderful insights.  I’ve cried over coffee and laughed over breakfast.  This past year has been one of the best years of my life.  But this year has also been the most difficult.  It was a year of trying to fit in, be noticed, achieve- and only when I let go did I realize how far I could travel.

I told a friend this morning, as we were remarking about business and success. I decided we would have to be kites; strongly tethered to the ground below, but with the ability to fly above the noise, competition and angst of those scrambling underneath.  Her heart is one of the purest I’ve ever known.  There’s no pretense, or negativity involved.  I’m blessed to learn from her and recognize how I can be better.  Being a kite, is harder than it looks.  But it dawned on me suddenly as soon as I typed the words to her, that the most successful people in the world, stopped being caught up in the negativity of those around them, and started instead, focusing on their own success.  They were kites.

I scan around the room at the mishmash of colored paper and the dust on the tables.  Today, I planned to spend a few hours cleaning the house but for the last 20 minutes, I’ve been affixed on watching my preschooler explore and grow more excited about what was inside the packages, than the gorgeous outside.  You could say my greatest gift has been watching, and learning from what those around me have offered.  I have been blessed.

Her little face tilts towards the red couch where I’m sitting, “there’s nothing more than I love you, Mommy.”  You’re right, Ava.  There’s nothing more.

Merry Christmas.