I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving. Ours was lovely. I was determined not to be stressed, and it worked out except for about a half an hour on Thanksgiving morning. That’s the half hour, I feel compelled to tell you about.
I already mentioned Friday that my dad was released from the hospital on Tuesday, then was right back in on Wednesday for more tests checking for complications. My mom still planned on hosting Thanksgiving for 20 at her house. It was easier to do that for my dad than to try to move him or make him spend the holiday alone. I went over that night to help Mom carry the tables and set a few things up. Nothing major. Then I convinced her to let me bake the rolls and sweet potatoes to lessen her stress a little. She still had the turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, salad, and pies to do. That was still too much.
I determined to get over there by 10am to help and had a perfect checklist in my mind. Get up; make the bed all cute with my new allergy free bedding; turn on the parade; bake the sweet potatoes and then head over. But no one in my house was cooperating. Darren wouldn’t get out of the bed so I could make it. The kids complained about having to watch the parade (and I couldn’t’ see it from the kitchen), and when I looked at the sweet potato recipe, it was going to take an hour longer to prepare than I was counting on. There was no way I could get to my mom at 10 and I didn’t like leaving her alone with all the prep work.
I could feel things start to boil inside. “Fine, you make the bed!” I yelled at my husband. Muttering under my breath why he couldn’t grow up and help out a little. He is a smart man, and he got up and made the bed. It looked absolutely nothing like I had planned it to look. I boiled up a little more.
He tried to tell me things would be fine. “So we get there at 11. What’s the big deal?” he wanted to know. The big deal is my dad is sick, my mom is stressed, and the SOURCE of the irritation doesn’t get to say it’s not a big deal.
I stomped and huffed around the kitchen a bit and when he got too close I glared at him, “I’m angry at you because you made the bed and it looks STUPID.” And then the humor of the whole thing kind of hit me.
Who cares if the bed looks stupid? My dad is alive. My husband is alive. My kids are healthy. We have a big family to gather with. Get a grip, Woman! I calmed down and apologized to my family and we had a really nice day.
I wish I could get a better handle on my emotions when things start to spiral out of control. It triggers when I have a goal and I think others are purposefully blocking my goal. Usually it’s because I didn’t communicate it clearly or early enough. The reason really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I understand that the only thing I can control is ME. So, I choose JOY. I want to influence others with my love and happiness instead of trying to control them with my anger.
So Friday, when it came time to decorate the Christmas tree, I thought ahead of time about the things that matter to me (hang the balls towards the inside of the tree) and I communicated it clearly. I decided on the things that didn’t matter and let the kids have free reign with them (put the silver and gold on this tree, but put it anywhere you want.) I limited what mattered to me to just one or two things. The kids aren’t used to a pleasant Christmas decorating mama and they asked me a lot of questions about what goes where and what to do with this or that. They were surprised with how much freedom I gave them and we all had a really pleasant day.
Any time I had a strange feeling of “don’t put that there” well up in me, I swallowed it and reminded myself that I could change anything I wanted another day. What I got in exchange was beauty. Our decorations this year are so very human. The kids will never be this age again and I loved watching them put things in places and step back to judge their work. It won’t end up in a designer magazine, but it’s a special collage of their current ages and thought processes represented in design.
Am I the only Mom out there that gets a little freaked out on special days? If you haven’t seen it already, this video could have been taken at our house.
“If you haven’t made your bed already, throw it away. It’s too late.”