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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Permission to be Less than Perfect

It's Holiday time; twinkly lights (not on my tree), packages, ribbons and bows. Christmas music fills the air and the wonder of Christmas is all around... Or is it?  Keeping the wonder of Christmas alive in a world of materialism is a difficult task. I love the movie Miracle on 34th Street, especially the remake. I love the way they fuzzed the characters and gave the new movie a timeless quality. The little girl who played Susan (Mara Wilson), truly captured the wonderment of Christmas though a child's eyes. Sadly, society has turned Christmas into something that is almost unrecognizable. Increasingly, I see more panic than wonder in the eyes of others and after discussing the holidays with friends, I'm not the only one disillusioned by the illusion of the secular Christmas. I was talking with a good friend last week who was having difficulties processing the holidays and beating herself up because she wasn't doing a better job of everything that comes with "The Holidays". I know I am the cause for most of my holiday stress. I have an idyllic view of the Christmas I want to produce for my family; but unfortunately instead of the warm fuzzy feeling of Miracle on 34th Street, it more closely resembles National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (at least in my mind). I am great at handing out advice (imagine that). So I sent my friend a card, wrote my words of ubber wisdom that said....

 "In your world, everyone else is allowed to go about their happy little way without a care in the world, while you worry and fret over the details of every birthday, holiday and anything in between. As if that isn’t challenge enough, you then berate yourself for days or weeks afterward for not doing a better job, or for not doing it all with a stress free smile and a happy-go-lucky attitude. I’m not sure what memo you got that said Super Woman was a real life hero, but I am happy to announce and debunk the theory that as women we have to be able to do it all, have it all, arrange it all, cook it all, clean it all, and magically make everyone else around us, enjoy it all with a smile plastered on our wary faces, every hair perfectly in place and nails brightly done."

In short I was giving her permission to be less than perfect. In all honesty, I wasn't just talking to her, I was talking to myself. I have got to lighten up and let my little tics quit stressing me out. I know in my heart of hearts that the kids do not care if the presents under the tree are color coordinated and decorated with handmade bows and artfully arranged like Martha Stewart's house. I know in my heart that they do not count the number of gifts each person receives to make sure each one got the same number of gifts, or that they mentally keep a running tally of how much each gift cost and the sum of each person's gift. I know that they are too old to really believe in Santa Clause and wouldn't care if there were no unwrapped "Santa" gifts laid out with each child's stocking on Christmas morning. I am the one making myself miserable by standards I can't possibly obtain in the way I imagine. So why do I stress about it? In part, I believe I still see the kids as three little faces excited about Christmas morning, instead of adults with adult stresses like jobs, bills and other adult worries. Instead of the pitter patter of little feet running down the stairs on Christmas morning (which was ALWAYS my favorite part), there is just the sound of large feet lumbering down the stairs with "I wanna sleep till noon" enthusiasm.  I'm a mom, with adult children who is trying to create the magic of Christmas that only a small child can bring. Am I hinting for grand babies? No, I certainly am not. I'm simply trying to wrap my mind around the new normal at our house on Christmas morning or whenever we can get everyone in the same place at the same time to have Christmas at all. It's all part of the mid-life crisis crap (can I say that on a blog without being judged?), and probably just another thing I should silently endure like every other woman who is at the same point in her life journey. But no, if I think it, feel it, or do it, I'm going to blog it because maybe, just maybe I'm not alone in my hysterical delusions of grandeur. During our conversation the other day, my friend said "This makes me a horrible person." I scoffed and assured her it certainly did not; it made her normal, and those too proud to admit their struggles were the weird ones, or giving them the benefit of doubt maybe they just don't have a blog from which they can share the craziness of a woman's mind.


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