holidays and lists and expectations… oh my


There is a Christmas tree in the corner of my living room. It has white lights twinkling everywhere but the very bottom, waiting on the replacement strand I bought last night. Outside my window the valley has cleared of fog, the evergreen trees make it look like it’s Christmas everywhere. Behind me, on the sideboard , are two tiny pumpkins. And in the fridge there are what I’m calling “Thanksgiving Leftovers”, actually just pans I don’t feel like scrubbing yet. The holidays are here and apparently I want to celebrate all of them together.


I’ve had this running list in my head of what I want these months to be filled with. Things I’ve waited so long to do with two little ones I love with every beat of my heart. And their daddy. 😉 I want the holidays to be perfect and magical and holy. I don’t need presents (Nate and I rarely give gifts to each other) but I do want to DO things. To feel my heart pound in wonder and excitement. And so I make my mental lists. And in my head every moment is perfect.  That’s the beauty of dreams – they have a shimmery glow and nothing goes wrong in them. In real life you forget the diaper bag and both children find themselves in desperate, desperate need of one at the same time. But not in dreams. In dreams things are never stinky.


blog - deleteMy list goes something like this:

  1. Pumpkin Patch
  2. Dress up party at Daddy’s work
  3. Play in the leaves
  4. Thanksgiving at home, make it an epic weekend
  5. Christmas tree farm to get our tree
  6. Decorate the tree and the house
  7. Hang up some lights outside
  8. New stockings made of fabric from DRC
  9. Add to the Christmas books collection
  10. Visit “The Lights of Christmas”
  11. See a production of “Black Nativity”
  12. Go to Colorado for Christmas
  13. Have a date with Nate on New Year’s Eve

I know we won’t get to all of that. Because apparently Seattle isn’t hosting “Black Nativity” this year. (Here’s hoping the movie version is good.) And I’m pretty sure #7 isn’t happening but the rest we’re making some good progress on.

We started with the pumpkin patch. And in my head it went like this: Thane laughing his way down the huge slide, the reason we choose this specific farm. Both little ones, with huge smiles, in the  corn bin. Some perfect pictures in front of a perfect field of corn. Maybe some skipping among the sunflowers. A crisp day with a warm sun but a cool breeze. Perfection.


In reality it went like this: I didn’t want to leave the house. It was foggy and wet. The chronic pain condition I have has been bad lately. I was still bummed we missed the weekend before when the adoptive family group went together. I was… crabby. But somehow we managed to get ourselves into the car, drove the 45 minutes and my dreams started to sparkle again. Until Thane decided that the slide was the worst thing we had ever asked him to participate in. The crowds were overwhelming. The corn bin cramped and dusty as all get out. The youngest refused to be out of my arms or go anywhere near it. My dreams they were dying and I had moved past crabby and into wretched territory.


Thankfully, Nate wasn’t joining me . He brought us back to reality. A reality that was actually, surprisingly, pretty awesome. Thane had the time of his life on this huge bouncy thing (no pictures because I couldn’t crop out all the other kids’ faces),we took a wagon ride and admired the semi-rotting sunflowers, and then we got to the pumpkin patch itself and Tal and Thane took off running and loved every second. I even got some cutie pie pictures, if not the two babies on a pumpkin picture I had envisioned.

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Reality is good. So are dreams. But I’m learning to think of them not as a play with carefully composed scripts but rather like a night of improv. Untamed, unscripted, wonky and wonderful. Also, I’m bringing the diaper bag.

{Pictures, obviously, from October.}}

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4 replies »

  1. Oh this sounds like my grand plans last year for the Holiday Train, which I’d been composing in my head for years. It was cold, raining, the train was too crowded to get on, and I broke my camera and had to go with a cell phone shot. I’m glad you got some happy memories in too 🙂

  2. You’ve perfectly captured the combined joy and frustration of being a mom, particularly with this line: “dreams are never stinky.”
    I’m so grateful for real, live, wiggly, sticky, opinionated and sometimes stinky boys. They’re not nearly as picturesque as dreams, it seems, but they’re definitely more fun.

  3. Love your post! I’m glad you can capture life as it is. You have a way with words! Oh, and I love your positive look on the crabby attempts at perfection. :-). Thanks for the encouragement. I think sometimes I don’t attempt something because I’m afraid that it won’t be everything I imagined. Well, it won’t. But why not just go for it and enjoy a stinky day!?! 🙂

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