Monday, December 15, 2008

Priorities and Compromises

Last week one of my dearest friends emailed me asking for tips on prioritizing for the holidays and making the holiday special with the nuclear family. I just about fell off my chair, I don't know whether it was because she thought I had an answer to that or because I think she is one of the most together, in control, coolest people I know.

I understand her plight and don't have many answers. I am slowly learning that my childhood traditions don't have to be my children's traditions. I am trying to let go of the control I like to have over how things look and feel. Mr. Steady recently found a great quote that basically said you can't force true joy, it just comes in little pockets, small snippets and you relish it while you have it, then wait for it. You can find it everywhere you look but you can't plan for it.

What I want and what I get are usually not the same thing. So I compromise, and I won't lie to you, sometimes I do not do so willing. I have to step back and ask myself, "What result am I going for here?"

Remember my cupcake compromise?
Goal: Bring 20 cupcakes to a harvest party for second graders
What I wanted: Imperfect, homemade confections in foil cups
What I got: Store made, too perfect, obnoxiously colored cupcakes
Benefit: With the time I saved, I carved pumpkins with the boys and made memories
Goal: Send Christmas cards to loved ones
What I wanted: Homemade, cool, hip cards with a mod color scheme (please don't steal that design, I'm starting now on next year's cards).
What I got: Store-bought cards with a cute children's drawing.
Benefit: Got my cards addressed and sent before Christmas for the first year in who knows how long.

Goal: Create a gingbread house with my children.
What I wanted: Eclectic little cottage with Necco wafer or Shredded Wheat roof, a little fence made of pretzels and mounds of glittery snow
What I got: A sugar high
Benefit: The boys and I had fun and they have a gingerbread house they can be proud of and take joy in.

Maybe our expectations are too high. Maybe we're looking for perfection. I wonder if my children even know what perfection is. They would probably look at my perfect gingerbread house and their gingerbread house and still decide they liked theirs better. So this year I am purposing to let them guide me a little more. Allow my children to set the agenda. Not run the show, mind you. But I want the freedom to decline a party invitation just to stay at home with a board game and a bowl of popcorn. Maybe that's not the answer to my dear friend's question but I'm going to give it a try.


  1. Just love it. I bought some chips-Ahoy cookies and then i turned around and made some monster cookies for the ladies christmas party at church. Daddy says ,"Boy these monster cookies sure are better than those store bought choc. chip ones!Tad says ,"Not really, I like the chocolate chips better.My heart just melted. Don't we just love those precious innocent children of hours. Yes, you can deny that party invite to stay at home with popcorn and a game. those are memories in the making.

  2. Thank you so much dear friend for your post. Yes, I am the one who wanted some tips this busy season. Wow, your post made me tear up. You would not think I have it all together if you would have been here last night when I was balling because I am so stressed about my busy week, and I want so much to enjoy it and my lovely husband and children. I just don't know what to cut out sometimes. I loved the part about what kids want and think is neat. Meg helped me wrap a couple things last week and I like my gifts to look pretty (at least kind of). Well she did a decent job wrapping, but then she picked ribbon that DID NOT match the paper and then a tag right on the front that didn't match either one....And was she ever proud of her gift!! I am so thankful she is willing and wants to help. She told me last week she prayed before she went to bed that she would wake up with a heart ready to help. Boo Hoo!! Anyway, your post is just what I need this morning...Thank you so much.


I love to hear your thoughts and reflections!