December 10th, 2007


Stitching Things Up

This weekend was meant to be the grand holiday kick-off at our house -- from advent calendars and Christmas trees to a Hannukkah dinner and dreidl games with friends. 

Only, the thing is, we kicked off the weekend in the E.R. getting my daughter a heroic set of stitches... it was 85 degrees at the Christmas tree farm... and mice had been in our ornament box.

Sometimes things don't go quite the way we expect.

This is something I've been thinking about a lot lately. There is a difference between living an intentional life, I think, and being totally beholden to your expectations. I mean, it's good to have dreams and to put things into motion in the direction of those dreams. Otherwise there's always the possibility that your motion will be, um, sort of repetitive and circular (or at least elliptical) and you might end up exactly where you started. Only older and grumpier. But it's also good to be manage your expectations so as not to be continually bowled over by shock or disappointment or change. Right? 

One of the little family tag-lines we've got around here is, "Flexibility is the cornerstone of mental health." 
Actually, it's "Flexibility is the cornerstone of mental health, Honey," because it tends to be used as a pointed reminder from one spouse to the other at moments of high stress. 

I wish I could say that I'm always the reminder rather than the remindee. But alas...

Anyway, I'm just kind of wondering how you're supposed to strike the perfect balance between intention and expectation so that stuff gets done in your life but you're not brought to your knees when you start your weekend in the E.R. with your daughter who's got a hole the size of a kiwi fruit in her knee? 

I stayed profoundly cool and was quite the labor coach, getting her to breathe through her novacaine shots. 
But. It sort of threw me off my game for the rest of the weekend and I think I may have reacted a little strongly when all the water from the Christmas tree stand spilled. 

Which I guess isn't as bad as last year when I glued the tree skirt to the hardwood floor.


Still, last night we ate chocolate Hannukkah coins and listened to Amahl and the Night Visitors and -- nevermind the laundry heaps that were as high as the tree -- I started wrapping gifts. Many of which are books. And homemade treasures with the kids' stamps of creative verve all over them. And it was a lovely, happy, cozy time. 

So maybe the key is that when you're busy intending your life, you should leave a little room for things that are unexpected. Some of which may be, well, miracles.