The season of EXTRAS you never had margin for in the first place is galloping upon us.
I'm already feeling its effects.
They're so fun. I LOVE Halloween. But, you know, you have to either make them yourself by the sweat of your brow, or work overtime to pay for Walmart polyester confections, lovingly sewn by children in Chinese sweat shops. Trade offs. Either way, there will be sweat.
As a kid, I thought that holiday joy sprang fully formed from the pure magical force of the season. Christmas came trotting into the calendar year with treats and twinkles automatically grafted into its innate species. Magic was not created. It simply rippled out from... from... somewhere.
And then I Adulted. And I realized--to my great woe--that holiday magic, no matter the season, is created by an elite fighting force of holiday cheer known as MOMMIES. (Which probably stands for "Makers Of MerriMent In Excruciating Situations".)
Holidays are no longer the effortless experience of magic moments that pop up spontaneously like fizzy bubbles in soda. Costumes must be made. Meals must be plotted and budgeted for. Presents must be sleuthed with screaming toddlers in tow and then shipped through angry postal workers who hate their lives. It's fun... but it's less fun than someone else doing it.
Today I'm just sick and tired of being sick and tired. Chronic fatigue and severe back pain is getting me down. (Saw the chiro. Taking vitamins. Working on it.) The house has descended into deep mess. My 8 week workout quest culminated in an inglorious 1 pound lost. My husband is working 5 twelve hour days in a row, and the only night he has off, he is going out for guy's night. Plus, to top it all off, the sermon on Sunday was about how we should be sacrificing so we can support the work of the gospel and I'm like, "I don't want to give up the $20 a month I spend on Chick-fil-A!!!!! It is desperate times up in here!! Jesus take the wheel... but not my CFA money!!"
And in the midst of it all I'm supposed to make Halloween costumes.
Then I'm hosting house guests until the end of the year... so I guess I'd better start planning Thanksgiving and Christmas ahead of time.
Could we just designate an official Holiday Planner to take over for the rest of us? When it's our year, we promise we'll rock it out. When it's your year, we'll be so thankful!! We can restore the magic of the holidays. And sanity! And liberty and justice for all!
But seriously though.... I know that the secret is to simplify expectations. But I also want to craft magical memories for the kids and myself. The struggle.
I have no answers... only this: While your head is spinning around for the next three months, while you're trying to do too much in too little time, while you're striving to make magic happen in un-magical circumstances... remember that true magic is in rest. Your rest. Their rest. His rest. Our rest.
Your children don't want perfection... they want you to smile and shrug and say "Sure. Let's do hot chocolate and cereal for dinner."
Your husband doesn't need a better turkey with six homemade sides all hot at once... he needs a quiet moment on the sofa looking into the eyes he married... being distracted by the avocado that's probably smeared on your face from lunch.
Your mother in law doesn't need the perfect pair of hand knit socks... she needs a note that says, "Thank you for raising this man that is now my husband. He aint perfect, but dude sticks with. Bless you. He wipes his own butt and pulls his pants up by himself, so... you're a radical success in my eyes."
The tree doesn't have to glitter with perfectly color coordinated ornaments... it's really just an opportunity to come together and reflect on our story together.
The costumes don't need to win Project Runway Neighborhood Edition... they just need to not fall off. For an hour. Maybe less.
If all else fails... I say cut a head hole in a paper bag and go as a sack of groceries.
The meal doesn't need to be bloggable.... just edible.
Put down the iPhone & back away from the Pinterest.
This is going to be a rough couple months, no matter how you slice it... but the thing that will make it the best holiday ever for you, for them, for us... is grace.