If you are like me, you strive for everything to be perfect the first time. Anything short of this is a failure. I get so focused on making things perfect the first time, that I lose sight of the opportunity for growth in mistakes and the gift of patience in second chances.
In my rational mind, I know that this focus on perfection, especially the first time doing anything, is a ridiculous view on life and definitely not one that I want to raise my children with. However, I have to constantly remind myself of this and work towards being okay with imperfections and not to obsess over them.
The holiday season gives us many opportunities to come face to face with imperfections. It is such a beautiful and festive time of year, but can also be a very stressful season. When I think of Christmas, I think of all the wonderful memories that I had spending Christmas with my family and all the memories I want to create with my own children and husband. By default, I view all these memories as amazing moments, that I have to execute perfectly, because we will only have 18 chances to give our children the most amazing Christmas memories while they live at home.
I write this with a bit of sarcasm, because I know how ridiculous it sounds.
Tell that to my anxiety when I am in the moment.
This was the first Christmas that our daughter would start to understand and get excited for everything that the Christmas season brings. I made it a point to make the whole month of December special for both her and our little man. The day after Thanksgiving, they each got a box with two pairs of Christmas pajamas to wear for the month and a Christmas activity to go with it. Then starting on December 1st, they would find 1 wrapped book under the tree, which were mostly of a Christmas theme. We went to look at lights and made cookies. We chopped down our own tree and decorated it with over 12 strands of lights. We put perfect colonial style wreaths on the windows and used spotlights to best illuminate it.
And welp, it went great! It was memorable! But, it was not perfect.
Those pajamas got a lot of use, but also took some convincing to get our 2 1/2 year old to wear, as they did not have puppies on them.
The books were great, but took the first 5 nights of teaching her how to be grateful and not chuck gifts across the room when you don’t like them.
The tree was beautiful, except for when it came crashing down at 4:30 in the morning, breaking many of our ornaments. It then was given the addition of 2 black fishing line anchors to the wall.
Looking at lights is one of my favorite things to do. I think our little miss likes it too, until she gets car sick and throws up on herself.
The house looks great with the classic wreaths and the spotlights work great at lighting them up, along with our bedroom, which is lit up better than Margot and Todd’s room on Christmas Vacation.
And those cookies….. We had so much fun making them with our neighbors. We were silly decorating them and each had a funny story. They weren’t even perfectly decorated but the story outweighed their imperfections. Until, I put them in a ziploc bag and they all stuck to each other and broke.
I couldn’t possibly let my neighbors take these broken mess of cookies to their families for Christmas, even if they were decorated in a completely inappropriate manner. It ate at me for days that I had ridiculously put cookies in a bag instead of a container, where they would be safe. I did not use the correct tools.
But, surprisingly, I didn’t flip out in my classic flip out fashion. Instead, I remembered the do-over. I could make them over and fix it. So, that is just what I did.
I even took peace in the idea of doing them over and explored with my camera while at it.
Those adorable cookies you see at the top of this post are the do-over cookies. Our neighbors came over again and all the kids (five kids under the age of 6) decorated our do-overs. They weren’t perfect but they weren’t broke either. Plus, we made even more of those special Christmas memories while at it.
So, our Christmas wasn’t perfect. There isn’t such thing. It was a memorable and precious one. These memories, as flawed as they are, are stories we will treasure.
I have to remind myself of this in those moments that I strive for perfection.
And to start taking peace in the world of do-overs.