My four “20 something” children suggested that we needed some new holiday traditions that involved more than opening presents on Christmas morning. The gift that they decided to give each other was “ecstatic following”. Each person in our family came up with an idea for a family activity on Christmas weekend. The gift from everyone else was to show up, be present, and participate without complaining.
This was not as easy as it might seem! Ice skating for the first time in 35 years (and I was lousy at it then) was a bit of a challenge for me. Then there was the cookie baking and decorating. Nothing makes me swear faster than a rolling pin with dough stuck to it! And my son had never attempted to decorate anything with frosting in his life. It was also a dangerous activity after taking twenty years olds to the Picasso exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. Those Picasso inspired Gingerbread men had uniquely placed anatomically correct parts! Laughter ensued…and their father decided that some of the Gingerbread men needed another layer of clothing before delivering them for Christmas gifts.
The weekend turned into a very memorable time. Our whole family found ways to interact and enjoy each other. Occassionally I had to remind them and myself that the gift we were giving each other was “ecstatic following”. It was just the right reminder to support us to show up for activities when they weren’t our first choice. I wish I had known about InterPlay’s ideas of “following and leading” when they were younger. What a miraculous and delightful gift!