Christmas Card Confessions

Oops, I did it again.

I messed around in PhotoShop and created the perfect Christmas card.  OK not perfect, but better. 

Last year, I copped to stressing over the perfect Christmas card.  See here.  Anyone who has ever received a card from me knows that, clearly, I have not been stressing about it since then.  My cards generally have an “it is what it is” feel.  My kids are who they are, and typically our holiday cards are representative of that very concept – Tate’s always making a face or cutting up, Meems always exudes joy (usually with her mouth wide open), Will is smirking. 

This year, my card photos were way less than stellar.  In all the shots, I was lucky if one kid looked good, not to mention two.  A good one of all three?  Not so lucky.  So I did what I had to do.  I took Will’s head from one shot and moved it to another.  Voila!  The perfect picture! 

Ok not perfect, but better. 

Now we have an I’m-barely-tolerating-this half smile instead of an agonized omg-would-you-just-please-hurry-up-I-mean-seriously look.  For sure, an upgrade.  I call that success.  My standards have lowered considerably through the years.  It helps to keep me sane.

The other day in Sunday school we discussed the gloss we put on the holidays, when reality often looks so much different.  We sing of Jesus’ birth as a peaceful, silent, calm night when in reality, Mary went through childbirth at age 14 by herself in a barn/cave with donkeys, on the floor with just Joseph there to help her.  No one talks about the mess, and the screams and the fear and agony she must have felt.  Let’s be honest, childbirth under the best of circumstances isn’t peaceful or easy.

I immediately thought of my Christmas card and felt guilty. 

Thus, the Christmas card confessional post.

We are not a perfect family.  Truth is, my kids were not happy to be posing for that picture.  This morning I yelled at my children that if they wanted to ever leave the house for the holiday, they were going to have to help out a little.  And then I gave them a laundry list of all they are going to do today while I’m at work, and a list of all the things we are going to accomplish when I get home this afternoon.  They accused me of ruining their vacation fun (one has a holiday hot dog lax game this afternoon and another one has a Christmas party tonight).  I told them that if this stuff doesn’t get done, no one’s going to have any fun.  You know, the usual stuff.  Good times.

But perfection is overrated and stressful.  After the chaos, comes the calm.  After we scramble to get everything done, we get to enjoy.  Just as it is, which will be perfect in our memories, but not in reality.  After Mary finally delivered, she held her baby and rested and enjoyed the most wonderful feeling in the world.  And that’s what we remember and celebrate. 

Next year, I vow to embrace the chaos and give you a REAL glimpse into my world, agonized omg-would-you-just-please-hurry-up-I-mean-seriously look and all.  Because that’s the truth behind the facade.  That’s the real memory, not the “not perfect, but better” shiny almost smirk squinty look I will grace my friends and family with this year. 

Keeping it real in the RVA.

That, my friends, is a warning promise.

Merry Christmas!


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