Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some People Just Don't Care for Sugarplums

My statute of limitations on blogs is about a week....if I haven't blogged it in a week, I probably won't. This is my Christmas Eve Blog one week later. We really did have a nice Christmas Eve in spite of myself . Corey was supposed to work all day, but was sent home at noon because of all the snow......ALL THIS SNOW...stay focused Vanessa....I will save my snow blog for another day.  Anyway, back to Christmas Eve.  Corey knows that I get grumpy if I don't exercise and wisely immediately sent me out snowshoeing. While on my trudge through the snow (I gave up on the snowshoes because they just sink in this genre of snow), I created my own visions of how the rest of the day would transpire. It went kinda like this: 

' I will return home refreshed and exhilarated.  The entire family will float to the kitchen to contribute to the preparing of their favorite dishes for Christmas Eve dinner, while listening and humming along to Handel's Messiah. Perhaps some cartoon song birds will fly on the windowsill and accompany the music or help put the linens on the table. As darkness falls and with only the light of the candles, we will simultaneously sit down together for our Christmas Eve meal....conversing about the magic of Christmas, the happiness we are experiencing just being together, etc. etc. You get the picture. After dinner is done (the birds will clean this up, of course) we will settle down for our Christmas Eve program which will consist of singing our favorite carols, reverently reading from Luke 2, and discussing the overwhelmingly convincing conclusion that giving is far superior to receiving. This will continue for several hours at least. With the first sign of a yawn, the family gifts will be opened and quickly donning the new Christmas Eve pajamas, the children will giggle, lay out their stockings and scuttle of to bed for their own dancing visions of sugarplums.'

It really went like this. I was exhausted after my hike through the snow. Only Corey helped me make dinner. The kids groaned when I put on the Messiah and no helpful birds made an appearance. Ansel played with the candles, the shrimp was rotten, and the meal was over in 12.4 minutes. Our Christmas Eve program consisted only of me and Ansel singing carols with the rest of the family covering their ears.

Music was such a huge part of my Christmas Eve growing up that I am sure my 'celebratory' aggression has traumatized my children a bit. I imagine I must seem like the Wicked Witch of Wenceslas, threatening to eat my children if they don't sing 'Silent Night'. I remembered this year and will probably have to reremember next year that I can't force my visions and personal magic of Christmas down my children's vocal chords. It is my personal magic and I should savor it and then savor the magic that the children are creating on their own...sans maternal intervention. I think traditions are important and see the excitement of some of these traditions in their little faces. The problem arose when I tried to suffocate them with a tradition that they just don't want right now. Trying to squeeze my evening into a tailored gown is a sure way of ending up depressed. Corey does a superb job of letting the kids be who they are. He tries to keep me grounded in that way.

I'm speculating that Mary had envisioned the circumstances surrounding the birth of her son a little differently. There must have been a point of letting go...of submitting to faith . A point when she decided to go with the flow, knowing that she was a witness to a gift of love and  a humble observor to the miracles that were taking place around her.

We open our family gifts on Christmas Eve. The kids had each thought about and purchased a gift for each member of the family. This is so much better than Christmas for me because I love observing the happy anticipatory face of the giver as the receiver opens his or her gift. I was a witness to miracles that were taking place around me and all I had to do was sit there and watch.

Savanna gave Ansel a Lego jet plane. I think he liked it.

Emmy gave Ansel a much desired Doodle Pro. They played with it together for an hour that night

Ansel, the victim of commercialization, was convinced that I needed and wanted to the "Ove" Glove. I think he truly believes that I will no longer burn the cookies. He was so excited about his gift that I really did need and want the now named "Love" Glove.

The day after the girls both put Gel Pens on their Christmas list, Ansel made me take him to the store to get them. They were the first gifts under the tree.

Ansel gave Corey some die-cast cars that they have been collecting. Corey is truly as excited as he looks.

Emmy picked a Barbie for Savanna.

Savanna chose a webkinz bear for Emmy. She knows her well.


andrea said...

beautiful post. I know how you feel about having a vision for how things should be and then facing the reality of how things really are.

Joal said...

Your italicized version of reality was funny: sort of a mix of "The Night Before Christmas," Mary Poppins, everything Disney, and The Sound of Music. We didn't sing much on Christmas Eve when I was a kid, but I like the idea. I hope Sonora and Rowyn will like to sing on such occasions.

Kaerlig said...

The reason I like reading your blog is because you write many things I'm thinking or going through as a mom. I've had my own struggles with expectations with my kids and not understanding why they don't get thrilled over the things I liked as a kid. And my husband and I both have tried to coerce our kids into singing but we fail. You once wrote something along the lines of how you are surprised when you realize your kids aren't carbon copies of you. Exactly.

I like what you wrote about savoring the magic your kids create. I'll have to remember that.

Thanks, Kaerlig

kate said...

Happy New Year V! Barbies are the best! The OVE glove, that's sweet! ..maybe he's the budding pastry chef...I just checked my bro's myface list, and you would die laughing at all the names, it would definately be that "walk down memory lane". i'm going to call ya on monday, the kids are back in school.

Lucy said...

It's hard when things don't go as we intended them to go. I love the description of your ideal Christmas Eve. I was right there with you, thinking, "yes. Perfect. Lovely." I think the effort counts. And the love.

Beautiful perspective about Mary's expectations vs. reality. How true.