‘Tis the season for anticipation and hustle and bustle. The big day is drawing near, and soon we will all stop preparing and slow down long enough to experience. Not only do I count down the days until we are surrounded by loved ones, and can celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, but — I’ll be honest here – I’m counting down the days until I can just stop. When I can lounge in my jammies, watch my family enjoying time together, sip my cocoa and Bailey’s, and just be. We Real Women take on Christmas like we are Indiana Jones outrunning boulders and finding crystal treasures, proving to the world that “we can do it all and make it perfect”. No one asks us to do it, we just put it on ourselves as if our goal is to make the bell ring, announcing to the world that we’ve gotten our angel wings.
After all of the Christmases I’ve experienced thus far on this earth, I have determined that there is one simple truth: no matter how much we prepare, how hard we hustle and bustle, there will always be something for which we did not plan. In other words, we have to expect the unexpected. The unexpected could be something minor, like an extra visitor for dinner, or a backordered gift. Or it could be huge, like an ice storm that shuts down a city, or the illness or loss of a loved one. Like it or not, there will be something outside of our control, and no quantity of planning and to do lists will change it. And we just have to learn to be ok with that, deal best we can with whatever comes our way, and move on. Easy to say. Hard to do.
Last weekend we were preparing to have some friends over for a holiday gathering, and my husband and I had gone out to dinner the night before and stopped at the grocery store for the last few things we needed. We came home, I opened the freezer door in the kitchen, and whoosh…. Water spilled out and everything was dripping and defrosting. The fridge side was getting warm too. Our fridge/freezer had decided, without warning, that after 16 years it was done. Toast. Dead. No worky. A black splotch on the floor behind it signaled a burned-out compressor. Always up for a romantic date night, my husband and I spent the next hour or two trying to rescue anything that hadn’t defrosted too much, throwing out what was wasted, and find some place to put everything. Luckily, we have a small spare fridge unit in our basement, and a chest freezer in the garage. However, they were already full due to the impending party and holiday treats. A quick panic call to the neighbors and we were able to squeeze some things in at their house, and otherwise relied on winter temperatures to store items in our garage and outside on our patio for the night. I was already tired from a busy weekend, but felt like I was coping pretty well. Until the table where I was stacking food to be stored gave out, and everything crashed to the floor. There just may have been some very foul, non-festive language that emanated from my mouth, followed by tears.
In the morning our first call to Home Depot gave us the bad news that they couldn’t deliver a new one for two weeks. At that point we decided to put a new appliance search on hold and focus on preparing for our get -together… which of course was a bit more challenging when wondering if a necessary ingredient was out in the snow bank, in the garage, or in the basement. We had a great time with our friends, tried to send lots of food home with them due to our storage issues, and offered a free dead fridge as a door prize.
The good news is, as so often happens during this magical time of year, we were granted a Christmas miracle, and we found an appliance company who could get one to us in four days. Were we expecting to go further into debt right now to buy an expensive appliance? No. Was going without it a bit of a hassle this week? Sure. Did we ever think a refrigerator would be a meaningful gift to each other? No. But expect the unexpected. And now it is here, and gosh darn it, it is beautiful. (Well, besides the minor dent, for which a replacement door will be arriving in a few days). All holiday visitors will be expected to pause and ooh and aahhh and bask in its basic white radiance.
There’s still plenty of time for more unexpected events. Perhaps we’ll be lucky, and this was it for us this year, and we will now have smooth sailing.
Funny thing, it really doesn’t matter. Because Christmas will arrive no matter what is going on in our lives, and no matter how much we Real Women want to control the outcome. We need to take a lesson from the Grinch. “He hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming… Somehow or other, it came, just the same. “
So let’s take the last rush of preparation down a notch, expect the unexpected, and most of all, enjoy it. Worst case scenario, we will gain great stories to tell while gathered around the fireplace, eating fattening cookies and admiring our fuzzy Christmas socks.
Merry Christmas, dear readers. I so very much appreciate you, one and all.