Monday, December 22, 2014

Awkward Mom vs. Good Enough

Every Advent, I reach a point when I just accept that I am going to have yet another good enough Christmas. It is usually into the 20s of the month. I am alternatively staring at everyone else's perfectly poised Christmas cards that I have hanging all over the place and the giant pile of ours that has yet to be stamped, signed, and addressed. I glance into the living room to see the aftermath of a massive toy explosion or, if I am lucky, the actual explosion, in process, complete with projectiles that give Super Toddler yet another bruise. I turn to look in the kitchen and am met with a sink overflowing with dirty dishes, no clean counter space, and cookie bits strewn all over the floor, sprinkle-side down. I look up to be confronted with cobwebs or I look down to be confronted with crumbs and smears of unknown origin. Then I run out of directions to look, so I look inward but it's scary and messy in there too. The Chipmunks Christmas album is playing for the 14 time that day and it's already dark at only 4 in the afternoon. It is at this point that I declare Game Over, accept that it's gonna be another good enough Christmas, and drink a large glass of wine. The years I am pregnant during the good enough declaration, I eat an entire box of store bought cookies because someone dropped all the homemade ones on the floor.

The good enough Christmas is fine. It works. Someone's present isn't quite right. The Christmas cards arrive on January 2nd. The tree leans. Some of the cookies are burnt. We never did make it to the Nutcracker that year. There is too much glitter and not enough egg nog and someone needs a diaper during the dance floor becoming a pool scene and I miss my favorite part of It's a Wonderful Life, yet again. But, the children are happy. The presents are wrapped. Some contingent of us makes it to church. We eat a lot of delicious things, feel warm fuzzies off and on, and generally make it through the season intact and still loving each other.

But I really wanted a good Christmas this year. Not good enough, GOOD. Now, I am not fool enough to ever think that my Christmas is going to be perfect. Or even orbiting perfect, but I hope, year after year, for that magical, mythical Christmas that they write songs about. Warm and festive. Stress-less and easy. Calm and complete. It has yet to happen in my world, but I seek it, year after year. Much like the pictures I take, year after year, that fail to be those perfectly poised ones that arrive at my house from all our far flung friends.

Our pictures do not turn out perfectly poised. Our pictures are messy. Our pictures are fuzzy. Our pictures are downright crazy. Our pictures are awkward. And year after year, I take them. And year after year, I sigh. And year after year, I use them to send out funny and hilarious Christmas cards that people tell me they love. They might be lying, but they say it, nonetheless.

But this year, well, this year, I can't even do that. There is no pile of unaddressed Christmas cards. There is no card. Not one. I just didn't get it done. The good enough Christmas got declared and that was the thing to go. I don't know if this is good or bad, but I suspect it just is. This is just me this year. Late and sorry and disorganized and feeling like George Bailey when he comes home after finding out that Uncle Billy has lost all the money and Tommy just sits on him and piles tinsel on his head. I am gonna just sit here and cry and let someone pile tinsel on my head, and that's alright.

Because here's the thing. After the tinsel piling, everyone comes over and gives George all their money and Clarence gets wings and bells and singing and Harry is home and it's great. OK, yeah, well, I may be glossing over the whole George-not-existing-Mary-being-an-old-maid-Pottersville-part, but I don't have all day here, People.

There is a reason Christmas is celebrated for a whole season. No one can sustain a magical, perfect, jolly time for a whole month or even 12 days or, let's face it, even a solid day. Like anything else, it ebbs and flows, and I happen to be in an ebb. A tinsel-head ebb. But I will shake it off and flow again soon, maybe even later tonight. Who knows; weirder things have happened. And that's good enough. Maybe good enough is good. After all, happiness wouldn't be happiness if that was all you felt, right? You would just kinda plateau-out and be content all the time. I guess that sounds okay. No. That doesn't sounds okay. That sounds incredibly boring.

And I don't want boring. I want messy, fuzzy, downright crazy, and awkward. 
I guess what I want is the good enough Christmas. 

We wish you all good enough Christmases 
with a few tinsel-headed ebbs 
and way more Zuzu-petal flows! 


  1. Very well said Erin! May you and yours have a blessed Christmas and a holy, happy, healthy New Year!