This is the time of year when I struggle with feelings of not measuring up. Christmas can be a pressure cooker for a parent, especially when you’re a great visionary but don’t have the time, resources, or discipline to follow through on all those great ideas.
My biggest enemy at Christmastime is EXPECTATIONS.
I have them of myself, my kids, my husband, and how I want things to go. These expectations inevitably lead to “GET BACK IN HERE I’M TRYING TO MAKE THIS FUN!” type of outbursts, which are hilarious in retrospect, but no one in my family thought I was very fun at the time.
Bryan is great at setting realistic boundaries for me. I usually hate him in the moment and seek to plan my escape from his rationality, but the truth is he’s annoyingly good at saying no when it matters.
I used to insist on making Christmas cards every year. This was back in the day when I thought I was super creative and really great at crafty stuff. I’m not. We all know that now and are very glad someone took the glue sticks away from me, but it took a couple years for me to accept that I’m not defined by my holiday craftastic accomplishments.
So when I got out the construction paper one evening a few weeks ago to make an Advent Chain, I sensed a here-we-go-again posture in Bryan’s shoulders. And then he passed out on the couch, his memory of The Grinch Who Obsessed Over Christmas so traumatizing he had to sleep it off until morning.
But I went ahead and made that Advent Chain with the kids, and it sat in a pile for a week because I didn’t know where to hang it. When I finally found somewhere to hang it, we read three days worth of verses in one sitting, then didn’t touch it again. I’m pretty sure the chain will still be hanging on the wall in July.
(If this scenario baffles you, read this post for an interpretation of events.)
Even though I’m in a better place now and not bitter about ignoring the Advent Chain, I still feel a twinge of discouragement and panic about the coming week. We don’t have a present for Ruthie yet; I’m running out of time to take the kids shopping for each other; we don’t have anything fun or crafty to send the grandparents; what are we having for Christmas dinner???
In the end, I’m reminded that Christmas is when The Rescuer came. I’m certain my kids get this, even if they didn’t read it on a paper chain.