Monday, December 28, 2009
If you read my previous post, you'll recall the star I picked up at the Walgreen's for our tree....and that my family laughed at it and said it was lame. Sigh. It lasted for a week or two on the top branch, all bent over against the ceiling. I liked it. It said, "This house ain't perfect. Get over it!". Amidst an evening of shopping prior to Christmas, Peter spotted a very pretty star made of sticks and red berries that he really liked. So we bought it and there it sits. It is very homey. Homie? I'm not calling you "homey", I'm......never mind. You get the idea.
The photo of the lame star made me think, once again, of expectations. Is this the season of expectations or WHAT? Sheesh. Now, I think I've made some big strides in trying to let go of unrealistic expectations of things/people/myself. But I'm not completely cured. Especially at Christmas time. I can so easily dwell on the "shoulds" or "coulds" of everything from family to traditions to baking and decorating. I will once again quote my friend Susanna and remind myself and anyone else listening that "IT IS WHAT IT IS". Can I say once again how I love that phrase? It has prevented me on countless occasions from jumping on the death spiral of unrealistic expectations. This Christmas, I teetered on the edge of the spiral a only a couple of times, but my favorite phrase (and my emotionally steady husband) yanked me back to reality. I'm glad, too, because we really had a pretty relaxed Christmas. I was going to make something for breakfast on Christmas morning that was really high-maintenance, but I realized I was pooped and didn't feel like it. So we had toast. Toast! I think a couple of the kids may have just eaten crackers. I had in my mind for a moment that homemade cinnamon rolls could be such a fun Christmas morning tradition! But I let it go and we had toast! (Call me crazy, but I'm seeing light from heaven and I hear angels singing!) I figured the tradition wasn't so great if mom was tired and nasty on Christmas morning because she got up so early to make the rolls so breakfast could be "special". Good grief! The kids could have cared less about rolls or toast or anything else to eat for that matter. For obvious Christmas morning reasons. So this year I feel like I had a pretty good handle on the Christmas expectations, save for the few teetering moments. I was also very proud of my mother, who later that day during the opening of gifts, handed me a plain box with a bow stuck on top and said "I got sick of wrapping". Go, mom!
Okay, now I must admit that my intent tonight when I sat down at the computer was to vent about how one of my kids crossed the line one too many times today between "cute" and "sassy". This is a recurring issue with said child, and I was ticked. (Whoever said not to take your kids' behavior personally? Wha??) I think we are at the brink of a new phase of parenting that I feel frighteningly unprepared for. Anyway, at the time of the crossing of the line I'm thinking that "this shouldn't happen". The child "should know better", "should not be disrespectful", and that "I should command more respect", etc. etc. etc.
But in the process of writing this painfully long post (sorry), I realize once again that it is what it is. I say that not to shrug off the incident and the responsibility to correct it. I say it to remind myself not to jump on the spiral of unrealistic expectations and think that it's all indicative of horrid parenting and children who will wind up as social deviants. (I really am that wierd...and i know I'm not the only one out there. *awkward silence* :) So thanks so much putting up with the external processing. I know I need to deal with the attitude issue, and I need to deal with my reactions to it (which are not always the most mature...). So there's a sink full of dishes that will be there in the morning for said child who needs to appreciate mom a little more. Not because I'm still mad, but because it is what it is. And I'll probably end up helping, and if we're lucky, we'll even have a good time in the process. We'll see.....
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I recently read an article in a tech-y magazine about how to fail at social media. One of the top five fails was: Inconsistency.
It has been so long since I last posted that I almost forgot how to log in. Sigh. Well, since my purpose for blogging was to capture random memories that I might not otherwise remember, and since any other method of "capturing memories" is hopelessly behind (yes, I mean my photo albums..journals, etc.), then I suppose a couple of months isn't so bad. Maybe my children won't be scarred for life after all!
It is Wednesday night, and I'm sitting in the living room amidst twinkly tree lights listening to the clock tick.....enjoying the quiet. Even as the Christmas music junkie that I am, tonight I am enjoying quiet. We've had a radio station on in the van that has been playing Christmas music for weeks, and I think I've heard George Micheal's "Last Christmas, I gave you my heart...." 15 times! And this wierd old song about wanting a hippopotamus for Christmas.?? Yes, tonight it's quiet. I feel strangely calm and unstressed this year regarding Christmas. The gift-giving in our families is pretty tame, we have no official parties to attend, and I'm not feeling the need to come up with perfectly decorated cookies...or a perfectly decorated house, for that matter! I feel like I might be forgetting something, but if I am I'm blissfully ignorant! We are just enjoying Christmastime. The kids really wanted to get a star for the top of our tree this year, so I picked one up at a store and when I brought it home my entire family told me it was LAME! I insisted on putting on the tree, which is as tall as our ceilings, so the lame star (and the top branch)were kind of folded over against the ceiling. I loved the Charlie Brown-ness of it, but when we were out a couple of nights ago, Peter found a star he absolutely loved. So down came the lame star and up went Peter's pick, with full approval of the star committee. I had no idea the star was such an issue!
Someone asked Janie what some of our Christmas traditions are, and the first thing she said was that we never put gifts out under the tree until Christmas morning. I laughed because what she thought of as a tradition was really just because A) Tim and I usually don't finish wrapping everything until Christmas Eve, and B) we've always had little ones who would tear into the wrapping long before Christmas Day! I wonder if this is how lots of traditions are started - out of circumstance! It's funny to hear what sticks out in the kids' minds....I try to make so many things "meaningful"..like reading the advent story every night...and then what they remember most is that we went to Happy Joes on Christmas Eve last year!!! I sigh, but with a smile on my face, because I love that kids are kids and that you can try your hardest to make them all deep and thoughtful, but what they're really thinking about is pizza and how they're hoping to get an Anakin's Y-Wing Starfighter Lego set for Christmas. I'd like to think the meaningfulness and the advent and the profoundness of why we really celebrate Christmas is taking root in their little souls...even amidst George Michael and the song about the hippo and the lame star mom got from the Walgreen's.
Well, you're perhaps wondering what the photo above has anything to do with this post. This picture is of the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic, which I visited on my trip with my dear friend Shannon. Prague was so beautiful, and one of the things I loved about it was that it holds the history of St. Wenceslas..Good King Wenceslas, as you may remember! This happens to be one of my very favorite Christmas carols because of the solid harmonies and the story/dialogue between King W and his page...and good memories of singing it at countless Christmas engagements with my fellow madrigal friends. The whole time we were in Prague, I SO wanted to just sing that carol out loud and imagine the king and the page gathering food, wine and wood to take to "yonder peasant" by St. Agnes Fountain!
The last line of the carol..."Therefore Christian men be sure, wealth or rank possessing...Ye who now will bless the poor, shall yourselves find blessing!"
I hope you're enjoying Christmas, that you have both wierd and meaningful traditions to tell of, and that you get to hear "Good King Wenceslas" at least as many times as you hear George Michael! :)