Slide over perfection, I am moving on to a world of do-overs.

christmas cookies Life is full of do-over opportunities.

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.

bad cookies

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.

cookie
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.

8 thoughts on “Slide over perfection, I am moving on to a world of do-overs.

  1. I absolutely love this and can so relate Ashley! why don’t we put so much pressure on ourselves??? One would think when your kids are nearly adults, that I could let go of some of this….notsomuch!!

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  2. Oh, baby girl. Your Christmas memories of years ago are seen through rose colored glasses. You forgot the do overs that were happening around you. That is the benefit of youth. Your babies will remember the great stuff, the “ceramic Trees”. They will never see your frustation with the lights not going on the correct way, the favorite ornament that broke in storage. The melted wax ornaments that you “safely” stored in the attic. They will never know that you were willing to go to Macy’s in NYC to get the only Little tikes Kitchen available in the Tri state area, until your Aunt tackled some lady at the Department store when she spotted the one on display. Your babies will always have just the fond memories of , looking at the colored lights and house decorations, baking special cookies, and making the holidays special. I only hope that your babies are never afraid of the lipstick kiss on the cheek from “santa”. (we really thought that was going to be so special..Ultimate FAIL) That should have been a do over!

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    1. You did it flawlessly in my eyes. You are right, that is the beauty of the youth. Nate reminded me of this too as I was freaking out a few times about wanting everything to be so perfect for our babies. You and dad set the bar pretty high… throw grandma into that and well, I have some amazing Christmas memories. Glad to know that behind the scenes it was a chaotic mess that I never noticed.

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  3. Ashley these are fun to read. You are not alone at all. I too, had perfect Christmas memories all thanks to my mom. I feel the need to do that each year for my family because my childhood was the best and id love to relive just one day of it again. Every year so far my little one gets extremely sick, he cries all day on Christmas and is super needy. I yell to my husband saying I just want one holiday where we are all happy. That’s just one example of our imperfect Christmas. But your mom wrote a very sweet and thoughtful and much needed reminder to all of us first time mommies who are either just starting or in the middle of these tough and sleepless years: we are remembering our Christmas through a ceramic tree! I love that. She is right. They were stressed too – we never noticed though because we were so loved. And that’s what we need to take from this- as long as we hug and love one another each day even when the day was long and I lost my temper – my kids will hold their memories in their hearts because of the love we show each day for them. Laugh together at the long days and the short perfect ones. Hold and hug each other because you’re right before we know it they will be pleading to have their significant other at our family Christmas and gosh, these sleepless years just go too fast. Thanks for the post I like to know that we are not the only family struggling during the holidays and thanks Michelle for reminding us newbies that you were once in the same boat.

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    1. I am glad you are enjoying reading them and that you can relate! I agree… My mom is spot on. As kids we get caught up in the magic that our parents worked so hard to create and our kids will feel that too… Not knowing all the work that is done behind the scenes. That really stinks that someone is always sick!!! Maybe Easter?!

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  4. Holy moly, Ashley! This is soooo beautifully written. This definitely resignated with me. You have a way with words! This is a great theme for a book! Love you, sweet friend!😘

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