It is uncanny how the visions we have in our heads result in a manner that would suggest our brains need corrective lenses. There is something about the Christmas season that persuades us to aspire to a level of craftiness and idealism that should only be attempted by the talented or the insane.
Over our long, drawn-out Thanksgiving break from school, I thought it would be fun for the children to decorate the playroom Christmas tree. I furthered the idea with the proposition of handmade adornments, an old school tribute to the snowed in children on Little House on the Prairie.
Except we weren’t snowed in. And the word handmade should have given me appropriate pause.
One of my enthusiastic offspring suggested that we string popcorn for the garland. How fun! And clever! And homemade! Lacking popcorn, needles or thread, we headed to Wal-Mart, hearing that it was still standing despite the Black Friday Tornado that almost caused it to implode.
Surveying the rampaged store, I couldn’t help but think how disappointed the good-hearted Mr. Oleson would have been at the total disarray. The general store he owned was always welcoming and spotless, and not a single customer ever wore their pajama pants when buying merchandise.
Gathering all of our material, we left the store that the American Cross really needs to tend to, excited about the notion of impending craftiness. Driving home, I began to imagine the scene my husband would walk into at the end of the day:
All of my children gathered around my skirt (or sweat pants), stringing popcorn in front of a roaring fire, nodding encouragingly at one another at a job well done. Christmas Carols would play softly in the background as I recounted the true story of Baby Jesus, contrary to the scene currently depicted by our imaginative six-year-old.
We would welcome daddy home with a mug of hot cocoa, and together, ceremoniously place the handmade garland around the Christmas tree. Quite possibly, we could even encircle the tree as a family, holding hands, singing joyfully, provided that our eleven year old’s gag reflex cooperated.
None of the above occurred. I could not get a fire to start, despite the number of Survivor episodes previously seen. The children requested a movie, rather than my Baby Jesus story, because “your animal noises aren’t as good as the ones made by dad.” Repeated finger sticks, band-aid requests, and popcorn malfunctions distracted from the Holiday Spirit I misguidedly tried to manufacture.
It is no surprise that the setting my spouse came home to was much different than the one ambitiously hoped.
Know that disaster relief efforts by the American Red Cross have already been summoned.