A tenacious stomach bug held 75% of the household captive over a span of about 8 days, so things weren’t quite as put-together or photographed as they might have been. But, boy, did we do a lot of laundry! And enjoyed Aaron’s sick leave as if it were an extended vacation.
But here’s a little glimpse of things around here.
Getting ready to leave for a family Christmas Eve gathering (sorry for bringing the germs! We thought we were done at that point!):
Sadly, those cookies just had to be tossed, as the decorator was quite contagious. But the dough had already been made and tradition must go on! The good news is that gingerbread cookies made with honey instead of molasses, and covered in vanilla frosting, aren’t really a winning combination.
We’re trying to mark these days leading up to Christmas, as Christians have done throughout the centuries, by observing Advent. As a young family with little hands that like to touch everything, we’re doing it simply.
A nightly reading from Ann Voskamp’s Jesse Tree devotional.
A paper ornament on a gilded branch.
While nothing really tops last year’s cake for Brother Frank, I was pleased with my first attempt at colored layers.
The significance of this year is that the guests who attended this successful surprise party are friends that Frank made all by himself. About 13 months into his time here in our fair nation’s capital, he’s had at least 5 residences, carved out his own niche, and even found time for a little fame.
We’re so pleased we were able to pull a fast one on him.
I won’t wax philosophical for too long. I just want to reflect on an aspect of motherhood I hadn’t really accepted (and still have a hard time with) until now.
These people are my responsibility, and mine alone.
I don’t mean they’re not Aaron’s. Or, in the larger sense, God’s. I mean…when I am in a setting like a family vacation with aunts, uncles, grandparents…I am in charge. When we’re at a wedding and surrounded by loved ones…I am still in charge.
And what that means is, I have to leave the wedding reception to let the banshees run wild outside, where their noises and questions won’t drown out the best man’s speech lovingly prepared by my husband.
It means I need to load them in a car and take them to another location (sundaes at McDonald’s? Why not.) for a little while so that other people can enjoy some peace and quiet in a shared vacation home.
It means these small children aren’t putting themselves to bed, preparing their own meals, or in any way meeting their own basic needs. And as much as I want to turn off the regular routines when in a new environment (it’s vacaaaation!), I’m not doing anyone a favor if I do.
Now, I’m not saying other people don’t bend over backwards to make you feel comfortable, to help you in big and small ways, to assist with and love these small charges. It’s just a needed shift in my way of thinking — vacation is not really the same for me as it was when I was young, or single, or just married.
And I’m not saying I didn’t burst into tears as I wandered around outside during that best man’s speech and my children gleefully threw rocks in the river.
I guess I’m saying: Thank you, Mom.