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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Holidays Aren't Perfect

It wasn't perfect, it wasn't the Easter I envisioned as a young Mom. Back then I would picture the idilic Easter I would throw for my family. In my dreams, the kids would wake and happily look for their baskets and then easily get dressed in their new Easter clothes. Off to church we would go as a happy family and come home spiritually lifted. It would be a beautiful Spring day, extended family would arrive and we would share a lovely meal. Mark and I would hide Easter eggs and the kids would have fun searching for them.
Our day wasn't quite like that, but it was good, there were memories made and it was real. Holidays are like life, just shortened into one day and the expectations for that one day are high. We are supposed to make it the perfect day, but the reality is, holidays are never flawless. I think we just forget the flaws as we age. We remember the good parts of our childhood and holidays done by our own parents seem better in our memories. Life was easier back when I was young. Times were tough, my Mom being a divorced parent, my expectations were pretty simple. I didn't expect a big Easter gift, a basket of chocolate and a few fun things was plenty. I remember the years a neighbor somehow arranged Easter eggs being dropped into our yards by a single engine plane flying overhead. I remember chocolate bunnies that took forever to finish eating. There were hams that tasted perfect while we sat at the dining room table with Grandparents who told stories of their idyllic childhoods.
This year was special though, mostly because we hosted both Mark and my family for the first time in many years. Holidays are not easy with Teale, so over the years we have tried to simplify them, knocking down the expectations for both her and ourselves. Her expectations were so high we just couldn't meet them. We would have meltdowns on holidays that went into other meltdowns. The whole day often felt like one big Teale rage, with little breaks of happiness. With public places closed, there was often no relief. Getting Teale out of the house used to be our only weapon to calm her. A visit to a favorite place would help her, but those favorite places, like malls, museums, the YMCA, a grocery store, etc. would close on holidays so staff could be home with their own families. This made our day more difficult. I remember one Christmas Mark spent at the stereotypical, bowling ally and Chinese restaurant. Those are two places known to be open on Christmas and Teale was happy there, but miserable at home. Beau, Gwenn and I tried to enjoy the peace while they were out, but my heart ached to be a family of five for that one day. I remember wishing we could just keep her happy at home, playing boardgames by a fire and sipping eggnog while Christmas carols played over the stereo. I was jealous of typical families, I've had the toughest time of any of us letting the dreams of perfect holidays go. I have been sad on many holidays because my dreams of what I thought my family would be, has not been.
So this year when I presented the idea to Mark of a big gathering at our house, I remember the feeling of excitement filling me. I thought out the menu, who would come, what we would do and then I prayed it would go smoothly.
As I said it wasn't perfect. Teale was upset a few times. We had decided that trying to go to church was just too much, for many reasons. A loss I struggle with. We weren't dressed in fancy new Easter clothes. There were many people who were unable to come. The potatoes were forgotten in the oven, until after everyone had basically finished their meal. The flowers never got picked and the candles never got lit to make the table beautiful. There were probably many glitches I was unaware of, but overall, everyone seemed to enjoy the day.
Holidays aren't perfect, but in our memories, we will probably only remember the happy times and the love that was shared. 

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