Holidays are very different if you happen to be neurotic like I am. Throw in motherhood, and things quickly escalate out of control.
I’ve learned over the past 8 years, that my kids and I see our Holiday traditions very differently.
FUN FOR ALL AGES! House made of cookies, covered in sugar, and topped with candy. Edible. Beautiful.
Fun only for kids. Small cockroach hotel made of messy sugar. Will attract ants and bugs of all varieties. Sprinkles on my kitchen floor. Kids are naked because they can’t keep frosting off of themselves. Will never be eaten. Never. Will throw away in secret and act like I don’t know what they are talking about when they ask about it later. Horribly ugly. Can they not see the picture on the box? Why is there no roof? Is that little blob supposed to look like snow? YOU FAIL! …Amateurs.
Frosting. Knives are fun.
Mix, spread, eat, repeat.
Six hours of cutting out and baking cookies with an eight year old who doesn’t understand cookie cutter placement or how to remove dough from a cookie cutter without turning that adorable Christmas tree into a satanic totem pole. Three vaguely different colors of frosting that don’t have anything to do with Christmas. Sprinkles everywhere again. “Can I have a lick?’ seven thousand times. Separate knives are for separate colors, you lunatics!
Why is it that glistening memory we have of our childhood holidays seems so exhausting as adults? They say practice makes perfect, but I think each year brings me new holiday failures. This year, for instance, I tried making snicker doodles and, according to my husband, they were perfectly good ginger snaps. Dark, hard, and lacking cinnamon.
I think, as adults, we have to learn to let go.
I always have a list of a million traditions that are vitally important to me. I want my kids to take in all the same things I did. But my little unit is different. And we don’t need to do everything every year.
This year we didn’t put our Christmas lights on the house. And that’s okay. Our neighbors think we hate Jesus’ birthday, but whatever. We’ll put them up for Easter.
I’m finally just learning to relax a little bit. My kids don’t have the expectations I do. Fun is fun. And everything is new.
If we forget to go see Christmas lights one year, life will go on. But more importantly – it will go on with joy and laughter. With or without every tradition, there will be joy.
I think it is important to create memories for my kids, absolutely. But I think sometimes we all need to release some of our crazy expectations.
At this very moment, I am sitting at my father-in-laws house in a sea of traditions that aren’t my own. And I could let my heart ache because things are different, or I can embrace the traditions and memories we are creating for our kids right now. Candy cane shaped pancakes and flamingos with scarves will be a happy memory for all of us.
Now, my father-in-law has a whole fridge full of adult beverages. So, I need to go. I have something important to do.
Have a seriously merry Christmas, guys. Or Hanukkah. Or Thursday. Whatever. Just have merriment, whatever the occasion. This year only happens once. This time is precious. And, when all else fails, there is always alcohol and chocolate.