I am not good at decorating. For some strange reason, despite being born of 2 clutter-bugs, married to a near-hoarder, and the mother of three proud materialists, I am a secret minimalist. Well, not secret so much as frustrated. I am the kind of person who looks at the austerity of monks' cells and goes "That looks great! Where do I sign up? What vow of silence? Oh, never mind." It isn't meant to be. Especially, not with Super Preschooler for a child. He decorates daily with the pirate horde of jewelry and baubles that he has been collecting since his pincer grasp developed. Seriously, the boy has 2 jewelry boxes and is quickly outgrowing those; he has more Madi Gras beads than a college girl on spring break. You get the picture; basically my mother's Martha Stewart decoration gene bypassed me entirely and lodged itself in the forefront of Super P.'s brain, where he draped a scarf over it and pronounced it fabulous.
Super Preschooler decorates for every holiday, much like my mother, who once threw a President's Day party, complete with Lincoln beards for all. But they both agree that the big 2 are Christmas and Halloween. For the moment, I am choosing to ignore the 8 aisles of Christmas decorations at Target, but there is little I can do about Halloween, being as I am the mother of the Mayor of Dress-up Town and the daughter of the owner of a 7-foot singing Frankenstein's Monster. I don't have to like it, but I do have to deal with it. Now, be proud of me, Readers! I decide to grab the devil horns by the, hmm, horns, and I went to Target, walked right past the Christmas aisles to the Halloween aisle, freaked out about the pre-teen costumes (What the #$%^ is the 12-year-old doing being a "sexy witch" and what exactly is a "sexy witch" anyway? Is her eye of Newt designer?), and I bought a light-up pumpkin. I brought it home and proudly called Super Preschooler over to admire it. He dutifully came over, gave it the once over, and looked up at me, pityingly. "Oh, Mom, that's cute. But don't worry; Grandma is coming this weekend and we'll get some real decorations." So, after the equivalent of a pat on the head, I banished the light-up pumpkin to the bathroom (he is rather small), and I awaited my mother's arrival; breathlessly, with the rest of the family.
She arrives in true style; bearing about 647 Christmas gifts (fully wrapped, of course), 2 overflowing boxes of Halloween decorations, 3 different types of Halloween-themed cookies, a pile of magazines for collage projects, and an abundance that my children bask in like it is the sun. My mother is not as insane as she sounds; she did leave the Frankenstein's Monster at home. She has numerous super-powers, but one of her most powerful is this amazing ability to be abundant and balanced at the same time. I do NOT know how she does it, because if I did, I would bottle it and make a million dollars selling it to legions of mothers. Since my childhood, she has possessed a magical ability to make every day seem like a party, even though the party games involve eating vegetables, raking leaves, doing homework, and functioning like a responsible human being. A responsible human being covered in sequins and flashing lights, that is. I jokingly call her Martha Stewart, but she is anything but. She isn't uptight in the slightest and would laugh in your face if you asked her to make a twine bag (swear to Pete; I once spent 25 minutes watching Martha Stewart do this). My mother holds to the adage that no one is gonna notice your messy floors or dusty shelves if you just hang tinsel everywhere. Or put a 7-foot Frankenstein's Monster on your porch. Bring your muddy shoes on over to her house, she'll laugh if you break her centerpiece, and oh, just come on in to the kitchen and eat whatever you'd like, but maybe you could cut these carrots for me, let's race to see who can finish first! Her abundance is completely generous and grounded and gleeful, and for some reason, it all gels gorgeously.
I got many good and wonderful things from my mother, but I can not master this abundance of hers. I'm too stingy and small and careful and worried. But Super P.? He's got it down and he is only 4. He carries extra necklaces in his pocket in case his friends need one. He praises with embarrassing effusiveness that makes me cringe and strangers glow. Ask him to share and 9 times out of 10, he'll hand it over with an offer to help you put it on. Yes, that 10th time; well, he is 4, remember. Can you imagine the generosity that is gonna grow in him over time? I think I may be raising a combination Mother Teresa/Santa. So if the result of my mother's generosity skipping me is that it leapfrogged into my son, well, I can totally live with that. As long as he doesn't decide that he needs a 7-foot-tall Reindeer display come Christmas....
But on to the important part; pictures!
This is rather tame for her. Or I hid the second box of decorations. I'm not telling.
She decided against stringing lights through this, once she saw what Super Toddler wanted to do with it. She is nothing if she isn't flexible in her design.
What Super Toddler wanted to do with it. For hours.
Well, duh. Of course, there were window clings.
Learning from the master.
Awkward Grandma's visits are never long enough, but they were long enough to go trick-or-treating at Greenfield Village. She and Super Toddler watched the Headless Horseman canter though Sleepy Hollow for close to a half-hour, laughing their heads off. Well, not literally, but it appears that Super Preschooler may have gotten her generosity but Super Toddler got her totally irreverent sense of humor. Please, please, please let Super Baby get her culinary skills. And soon. Awkward Mom tries, but everyone is getting tired of eating Mac and Cheese around here. No mean feat, considered that we are talking about toddler palates.