Do you have plans for the upcoming year?
Perhaps goals? Desires to stay on budget? Lose 10 pounds? Eat more fruits and vegetables?
I have quite a bit I want to accomplish in 2015.
One of my desires is to remember the lesson I learned this past Christmas. It requires me to let go of my perfectionism.
Let me share with you how my Christmas fiasco, taught me that my views of what is perfect are perfectly skewed and flawed.
I have the grand vision of Christmas Fruit Tree Platters every day around the Holidays. And while I have shared my SUPER EASY tips for making your meals festive and fun, there are times I just can’t get my act together.
The dreams of sugarplums and Rockwell Christmas Paintings are in my head BUT never my reality.
- I will never have a perfectly decorated house.
- There are finger print smudges on all the windows and crumbs on my counters (things I swore would never happen at MY house.)
- My house is loud–with siblings bickering, dog barking and boys that forget there is NO running in the house.
- I most often forget to take pictures during my children’s events.
- My kids refuse to wear the adorable outfits that I wish they would.
- Under my tree will never be filled with every desire of my heart, like granite counter tops 🙂
- My Christmas tree is decorated with the colored lights I despise but my kids love and the pretty glass ornaments have been replaced with over-sized hand-made crafts.
- The list of crafts I want to complete and did NOT is so much longer than I hoped for.
- My temper was lost more than once. I think I even cried over spilled milk.
- And the list goes on….
That is life.
Then my life threw a giant bump in the road right in time for my family’s celebration of Christmas.
I suffer from a form of Cystic Fibrosis. I am beyond fortunate to be as healthy as I am, but there are times this disease shows it ugly nature and I am left very weak and facing many rounds of nasty treatments.
When the doctor called at 10 PM just days before we were to celebrate Christmas, I knew things were really not going to go the way I planned.
There were no festive fruit platters. There were no cute crafts. There were no clean clothes!!
We were talking about me not being able to get off the couch. And it was crushing me.
And not because I was sick, it was because my Christmas dream of making precious memories with my children through fun activities and festive food was NOT going to happen.
When it comes to me creating moments for my family, I can go as overboard as a shopping addict with a credit card in a mall.
I spend hours on social media and it seems that so many moms have it perfectly put together. Their kids are in matching outfits. Their dinner table is set with matching seasonal china, there are no crumbs on their counters. I swear at times their dogs seem to be smiling!
I just wanted to serve festive pancakes—and that was NO longer on the agenda.
But then something happened.
Something that made me say to myself–get over yourself, the memories are what you make them for the kids, not what you want them to be!
It started with dinner.
Originally on my menu plan were Santa Pancakes followed by snuggle time on the couch watching Elf.
No pancakes for me, I wasn’t allowed to eat and had zero strength to make anything.
My son, who is always as hungry as a 300 pound football player, asked me what we were having for dinner. He knew I couldn’t eat, but that typically I have a back-up meal in the freezer or Daddy will take care of it–AKA PB&Js.
I told him I honestly did not know. And he asked to step in and make dinner.
Oh boy. I love helping hands in the kitchen but the last thing I needed was a mess to clean up.
But God nudged me to let it go and let him take control. Miraculously, I listened.
So he looked around and found a box of rotini. He got the water ready to boil and dumped the pasta in. After it was cooked, he drained it and added garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil–all his decisions. Then he steamed a bag of broccoli in the freezer, because that is his favorite veggie and HE was calling the shots.
His Dad got home and dinner was ready. At first my husband was ready to kill me, as he thought I left the couch to prepare dinner….but then he about dropped over when he heard his 9 year old made dinner.
And then they all dug in. From my spot on the couch, I could hear the conversations perfectly.
Wow, this is really good. Said the Dad.
You are the best cook ever! Said the 6 year old sister.
I smiled from my place on the couch. And later that evening, my 9 year old cuddled me on the couch and asked if we could watch cooking shows together so he could learn more. Be still my heart.
Letting go of my perfectionism that day was not my choice, it was forced upon me.
But I am grateful it happened. Because for that reason, my son, the day he made pasta, is a memory he will always have. A memory he will cherish and be proud of.
It was not the memory I wanted to create for him that day, but it showed me that my idea of the perfect memory is sometimes the farthest thing from the best memory that can be made.
It became my prayer in that moment that I would choose to embrace life as it was dealt to me and be willing to change my plans and go with the flow more often. That I would stop holding myself to such high expectations and learn to just enjoy the people I am sharing life with.
And guess what?
The desire to let go of my “perfect plans” were tested more than once over the Christmas Holiday.
- I was still too weak to cook for our family’s Christmas Eve Dinner and my husband was sick as well. In stepped the kids to make Candy Cane Pizzas—another great UNEXPECTED memory.
- We traveled 10 hours for our whole family to become stricken with an odd virus. One that knocked us down for days with high fevers and many other ailments.
- My daughter had an explained rash that caused her face to swell beyond recognition.
- We missed seeing friends and extended family and Christmas parties that we had made travel plans around.
But ask me if I had a good Christmas.
Was it the one I had planned? The one I had hoped for?
Um, couldn’t have been further from what I had hoped for. Christmas 2014 is tainted with disease complications, trips to the hospital, high fevers, weird rashes, and very few Christmas cookies.
But we have chosen to cling to what is good. Each other.
Because at the end of the day, we snuggled. A LOT. We were together and we were loved. And that is more than most people have.
So is our memory perfect? No! But I am perfectly blessed with my family, sick or well.
Regardless of what my family or your family faces this upcoming year, it is my prayer that you will choose to focus on what is good.
I was inspired to put this into words after reading “Living Well Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life” By Ruth Soukup. I believe choosing to cling to what is good and not the vision of what I think is good is my 13th secret. #secret13