Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holiday Prep 2014: Paring Down and Scaling Back

I sold our Christmas tree. Yard sale. Driveway. July. Seemed totally rational. We can walk around in our storage shed now and it's awesome. But next week is Thanksgiving and the reality of my decision will hit home (in the form of an empty living room window) the next day. My daughter is sure to grill me about when I'm putting up the tree while she and her husband relax in front of the fire with coffee and pie. Not sure how to handle that. Then two weeks later our son will arrive home after 3 months in Arizona. I'm hoping he doesn't bring an international house guest so he can show them a big American Christmas.

Unless they are Scandinavian. The Scandinavians would totally get me.

This year's Christmas theme is simplicity. You'd need to know that for years I chose a theme and decorated related to it, to be able to appreciate that.  One year it was churches. One year sleds. One year mittens.

I know. But it gave me something to focus on when I was on the gift wrap aisle at Target confronted with an overwhelming number of choices. It actually helped me to say "Sleds. Sleds. Okay here's one." As opposed to holding up 50 different expensive selections, one more beautiful than the next.

Sometimes I need help focusing.

So this year's theme, Christmas: Simplified, is going to be focusing in the extreme.

Stay tuned for my attempt to actually sleep in heavenly peace during the most stressful time of the year. The goal isn't glittery and excessive but warm, comfortable, and memorable. Oh, and green. It was so unlike me to actually plan ahead and start forcing those narcissus bulbs at the top of the blog so I could replace our old factory made tree with fresh living flowers.

Generally planning ahead just isn't my thing. Kind of proud of myself for remembering the bulbs in time. Now I just have to keep them alive for a month.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Why Would Anyone Want to be a Parent?

You pee on a stick and it turns blue. Wow. What a less than grand beginning for a relationship that is going to be magical, messy, and maddening.  Today my daughter turns 29 and I'm trying to imagine what it is that makes people want to have children.

 Really. Think about it. It's going to tie you down, cost you a small fortune, and drive you crazy. You'll spend sleepless nights imagining the worst scenarios possible when they are late. (We always went with  "dead in a ditch") You will spend hours awake in the dark, first listening for them to cry, and later for the key in the lock and a sneaky foot on a squeaky step. When they've wrought all this damage, they leave. And this is AFTER you've risked your life for them.

Not in labor. I mean teaching them to drive.

So what makes us do it?

There is something built in that makes us want to care for and nurture our offspring. There is also something a bit selfish going on as Shelby tells us in Steel Magnolias (the font of wisdom--right after the Bible-- for all Southern women) when she announces her pregnancy to her mother:

"And when it's all said and done there will be a little piece of immortality with Jackson's good looks and my sense of style, I hope."

I think she hits it on the head at the end:


We hope the world will somehow hold itself together at least long enough for our children to grow up. We hope they'll be part of the solutions and not the problems. We hope they'll be better than us. We hope they'll be braver, more confident, smarter, and not make all the mistakes we made. We hope that they won't sit silently by while injustice rules the day. We hope they'll stand up for what's right.

I think something in us hopes they will change the world. 

Happy Birthday, Baby! You make the world a little better place every day.