Real life is like that Christmas tree, where the kids (including one who wore his shirt backwards) so carefully decorated the bottom and I fussed over the top, falling over within one hour of us being done. Ornaments, water, lights and all in a tangled mess was the result. And, I was late. I had a dinner to go to, was busy getting ready, and all of a sudden I was faced with a curveball in the routine. The curveball was a seven and a half foot tree, heavy with ornaments, resting on my area rug in the living room with piles of Hungarian gold glass bulbs crushed underneath.
Laugh or cry.There really was nothing I could do, the perfectionist who tries to not be such a perfectionist, at the moment. My family was watching – waiting to see my response – and they mattered more than the bulbs scattered everywhere. Then I saw Grace’s first year Christmas 2001 ornament snapped in two. As I picked it up, my oldest daughters, who both stepped in to help me clean, looked at me and said it’s just a thing, mom. Just a thing. My perfectionist heart had to let it go. It was a thing and they mattered more. They watched me as I looked at them and told them, yes, it’s just a thing, you’re right.Do you know why I love everything so perfect?It’s about me trying to control the circumstances of life.But, sometimes, and what I’m learning through life, and perfectly illustrated with my tree falling, is that there are things that we can’t control – health, finances, relationships, trees falling, kids not fussing, snow days on days when you need to go out – and in those moments we just have to let it go and to choose to live embracing relationships and letting go of things. Even when things are messy there can still be beauty – my tree is standing this morning, with ornaments that I need to rearrange and lights that need fixing – but it’s standing.
It’s standing. (written December 2012, eight months before my life unraveled)