Traditions, Failure, Trying to Make it Perfect, and oh yes, Love!

Look, the table is perfect. Except not a soul is there. 

I remember when my biggies; Colby, Jackie, Benjamin, and Louisa were little. I was fixated on traditions and trying to make each holiday, each Sunday, each day, perfect. I would stress about the things that I was sure they would remember. Every occasion where I didn't have things just perfect I viewed as a fail.

You see, I was busy changing diapers. I was preoccupied with figuring out who unrolled every single roll of toilet paper in the house. I couldn't decide who should be spanked first for the dozen cookies that were eaten after I had said 'all done.' I was unsure who took Jake's ______ (fill in the blank) and tried to flush it down the toilet. I spent my days picking up endless messes. Toiling over the floors because they weren't mopped right. Dusting off the few pieces of furniture we owned. I would scrub toilets endlessly because I never knew who was going to a have tea party with the toilet water next. Ahh, yes. I was busy mothering. Then of course there was the wifing. Wifing came first, well at least it was supposed to. I can remember knowing what I was supposed to do, going through the motions, but really failing all the time. Even my best efforts would be scrutinized by my number one judge at the end of the day (me).

It's actually a small miracle I made it through the beginning years of mothering and marriage in one piece and with a happy marriage. Thanks be to God. I know He was the glue that held it all together. The traditions would still catch me though. I read books and was desperately aiming to be sure that my Thanksgiving table looked just like Martha Stewarts. Yet, it was hard to make that happen. My plates were all chipped by this point. They'd been the cheap ones from Target off from my wedding registry. The silverware, you know the type, they had the plastic handles that were dried up and had the 'been through the dishwasher too many times' look about them. The serving platters weren't quite platters. They were mismatched pieces from here and there and often food was served right out of the pan, GASP! While I would sit at the table rather disgruntled my family never cared. The 'umm good, yummy momma' expression was always on their faces. My husbands adoring eyes were always filled with thankfulness. He knew I strived hard and appreciated all of my efforts.

I was my own worst enemy. I think many of us women are. We beat ourselves down and compare ourselves to our neighbor or worse.. to a picture in a magazine. I've come to realize that I spent much of my time grasping after the wind and missing the larger, greater picture. The picture of my littles and my man gathered around at table. Giggling, eating, kids falling out of their seats because of crazy growth spurts, eating, having mashed potatoes tossed my direction by a baby (who, mind you, is no longer a baby), eating, sipping wine, and eating. My table was perfect. My decorations were crooked and wrinkled by well loved hands.

I'm thankful to enjoy a prettier table now. But guess what? I don't get the glory from having set it. That glory would belong to one of my daughters. Daughters who used to be littles, but now have the extra moments to make the table just right and I can manage the dinner. Daughters who grew from diapers to bloomers to dresses and gowns way too fast. I think my table is just as lovely as it's ever been, but the spectator has changed. My eyes are starting to pick up wrinkles here and there and they're starting to see that perhaps they were way to scrutinizing of life at its' beginning familial stages.

When we sit at the table I see that perhaps the girls fret because everything isn't just perfect. But you know what? It is perfect. It's better than Martha Stewarts' latest spread. That's because it's home. That's because the Lord is there. That's because I'm surrounded by the people who I love the most and who love me the most.


Jen said...

Christie, this post is beautiful, thank you so much for sharing. There is so much truth here! We need to remember not to let the little stresses get in the way of the big picture. Life filled with love and a little mess is perfection.

CLR said...

Thanks, Jen.

Tiffany said...

Very well said, friend! I am guilty of much of the same ; ) Thank you for sharing your heart. As always, I'm super blessed.

Karen said...

Such wisdom ... Jen is right, there is so much truth here.
Thanks for writing and reminding me of the important things, the things that really matter.

Appollo Schloss said...

It is lovely.

Christina said...

I miss sitting around your perfect table with all those perfect faces! Beautifully written, friend; great encouragement.

Brittany Martin said...

So true! My husband is always telling me to remember Proverbs 14:4.