Our refrigerator conked out on Christmas eve, and we'd spent the night before throwing out everything. Juice from once-frozen strawberries had leaked everywhere, making our kitchen look like a crime scene. In the midst of the clean-up, our son came home from celebrating with his girlfriend's family, and he couldn't resist reminding us that he had tried to get us to replace our twenty-plus year old refrigerator before Thanksgiving. "You have to be proactive, not reactive," he walked around the house saying, but cheerfully, like a court jester, and ruefully, I laughed.
I don't know how it came to be so deeply rooted in me, this idea that one must "make a good impression." I became a whirling dervish, making everyone miserable as I tried to impose order on the chaos, and when I went to shower I found myself crying from frustration. But a little while later, my son came to find me. Before he could say anything, I apologized for stressing everyone out, and I teared up again, and he put his arms around me and gave me a big lovely hug. "It's okay," he said. "We know how you are." I apologized to my husband and daughter too, but they just laughed because they'd both already moved on. My son is the one who is most like me, and the one who will get cranky right back at me. The other two, they shrug it off. Besides, they were busy cooking the feast with their fancy real deal chef knives.
Dinner was absolutely fine of course. I went to bed at midnight and left a circle of twenty-somethings chatting and laughing in the living room. I meant to take a family picture because we all looked so nice, but I forgot, so the pictures of my children in their pjs enjoying their gifts will have to tell the story. My daughter, by the way, is holding a tote featuring art by my niece Arrianne, whose creations can be found at VisionArri.com. Her stated aim is to "find the pretty in the gritty."
I hope you had the day you needed, that you managed to find the pretty in the gritty, and that your heart is at peace.