There are six types of fear for moms:
- We need to talk
- Dressing rooms
- Your mother is coming for Christmas (last minute)
- Cleaning the house for four hours, then watching your little humans destroy it within 10 minutes and knowing this cycle will repeat for 20 years.
I can say this because I watched my offspring, their rabbit and dogs destroy the house after I had cleaned it for the last four hours. I had envisioned a warm and welcoming home filled with family and friends visiting after the Christmas service and kids’ concerts.
When I texted a friend about the shock and rage over the tinsel, Ritz crackers, peanut butter and Douglass fir needles all over the house, she texted back within seconds, “Sorry hon, get a Dyson and expect it for the next 10 years, maybe 20.”
This is the life of a mom at Christmas time. Not all is merry and bright. Sometimes we want to hide in closets with our favorite merlot and dark chocolate and question why we decided to procreate in the first place.
We look at baby Jesus in all of his manger glory, only to turn away from the scene disappointed that our Christmas cheer doesn’t match the wondrous hope of the season.
Why the heck we envision a bright and merry home at Christmas is beyond me.
I blame it on Southern Living magazine with Pinterest-perfect living rooms and tall, beautifully dressed Christmas trees where the dogs lie underneath tuckered out and happy and the kids — they’re dressed in their best and actually playing together. Personally, the “playing nice” must be the product of Photoshop.
This scene in no way has ever resembled ANY of our Christmases for the last 17 years, except maybe when Chris and I were newlyweds and ignorant teens. Our first Christmas consisted of a Charlie Brown tree, no presents except our undying love for each other and our newborn Cheyenne. It was merry and bright until she wailed into the early morning.
Each year, I assume my children have matured and things will be different. When fall turns into winter, I want to create the feeling of wonder, love, hope and peace in my home. I believe it’s going to be the best Christmas yet, completely forgetting my kids are kids.
They hit the home like a tornado, and that’s when I texted my friend, right after my home and emotions unraveled.
As I waited for the dust to settle, I looked at the mess before me and thought, maybe the greatest gift of all is in the unraveling.
Maybe the merry and bright is found in the mess.
Maybe it’s found in the after-party of dirty dishes and platters that served the bread we broke together at the table.
Maybe it’s found in the needles on the floor or on the dirty fingerprints all over the ornaments and the ones that shattered on the floor.
Maybe the merry and bright is found in the footprints of mud and snow found on my clean floors from my family.
As I looked at baby Jesus lying in the manger, a realization hit me. How his presence must’ve unraveled the lives of Mary and Joseph, and yet they embraced the hope and light of his birth. Maybe the greatest gift of all is the mess and in the unraveling.