With three children now, still working somewhat, attempting to recover good health, attempting to somewhat keep up with a healthy diet while combating serious nursing difficulties over the past few weeks my real life has been in pretty stark contrast to my ideal life. Looking back over the Holidays makes me giggle a little. Cuz laughing at myself is a healthy, sanity saving skill I learned a while back.
Our ideal tree, the one that we created hand made ornaments for out of natural and or reusable supplies while having fun with the kids making memories as we made the ornaments was supposed to look something like the one pictured below.
In real life, aka as reality our tree looked like a hobo’s collection of ornaments exploded upon it, barely snagging the branches in places and hanging in grouped clusters in others. It’s what happens when kids decorate a tree. Not to mention the bottom half the tree was adorned with everything deemed unbreakable while anything remotely breakable was assigned to the upper half. That is what happens when reality includes a tall toddler man cub loose on the premises. Reality tree also had both white lights and colored lights…mixed…which seemed like it must be breaking some cardinal tree decorating rule somewhere. In my sleep deprived state state at the time I ended up comforting myself by making it a life metaphor for how beautiful messy, mixed up, rule breaking, lives can be. After all some of my favorite photos by favorite photographers are ones in which all the ‘rules’ are broken. Never-mind they are tastefully and strategically broken…not strung together in tangled chaos because 2/3rds of the strings of lights mysteriously refused to work this year.
Oh and what about the tree topper you may be wondering? What tree topper? That’s right. Our tree had no topper this year. Was going to get one and then never got my act together to buy one or make one.
Our kids thought it was the most beautiful tree ever. And made so many happy memories working on it. My theory is that charlie brown homely trees make kids happier than beautifully and artistically themed for optimal aesthetic pleasure trees do.
In an ideal world, we were going to make 7 different kinds of gourmet cookies in large batches, from scratch with all natural ingredients spread out over several days. Once they were all completed they would be divided up into beautifully arranged cookie gift platters and given to relatives, neighbors and friends. It was going to look something like what is pictured below.
Reality was that one single type of cookie was made in one large batch. It took all evening with my little helpers fully engaged to bake sheets and sheets of cookies while the little ones took turns helping with the decorating icing bags and naturally dyed sugar sprinkles. That single solitary type of cookie ended up looking like this after they were decorated and left for the icing to firm up on cooling wracks…Picture taken just prior to the previously mentioned bear cub toddler helping himself to them by shoving a chair over to the area to gain access.
Returned to the kitchen to find the icing scraped off of half of them and about a third of them crumbled into a pile of crumbs. Yup. That was memory making reality. Our cookie gift baskets were stocked with Trader Joe’s cookies instead. Bless them for both having a wonderful holiday variety along with lots of gluten free options as well and fairly wholesome ingredient listings. It hurt my perfectionistic, bakers heart to the core but it got the job done.
Ideally we were going to spend the days leading up to Christmas doing all sorts of fun, Advent themed projects while carefully packing gifts for the many family members we planned to see on our long anticipated trip down to my home state of GA. It was going to be organized, neat and tidy, personalized and done on time because I had a plan.
Reality was our wee baby boy got sick. Very sick. The trip was cancelled while we waited hour by hour to see if we would have to take him to the ER. He took a drastic turn for the better the day after we were supposed to leave and we decided to go after all. We packed in a mad, slapdash manner. All order out the window. Barely grabbing enough supplies to throw together basic gifts for the family without all the personalized notes and special touches that were planned.
Almost all of the ‘ideals’ and plans my over achieving self could come up with went up in flames this year. Reality came along and tore them to bits, trompled all over them and ground them into oblivion for good measure. While nothing that came out of my holiday was Pinterest worthy…it was perfect. Beautifully sweet. Peaceful. Surrounded by loving people. My sweet little immediate family and lots of extended family from all sides. Overwhelmed by generosity to us and our kids. Delicious food. And an older generation that we may not see again earth-side meeting our youngest. Tears of happiness were shed more than once.
I wouldn’t trade one minute of what the Reality of our Christmas Holiday was for any of what my ideal plans were. Ok, I take that back. Maybe for the cookies. Those were going to be some incredible cookies. Ah well. There is always next year! =D
Hope the Holiday Reality you experienced was every bit as wonderful as the one we were blessed to have.