I am not good at sharing emotions on demand. Or under expectation. I woke up in a bad mood this morning knowing I’d have the three kids alone most of the day. And I had to prepare for guests. And we were up all night with a croupy coughing little boy.
Often, I am thinking of how lucky we are. How lucky I am. This has been a good year. They all have been good years so far, for us. We have more than we deserve.
And yet this just happened. I was sitting in my bedroom on the floor, blow drying my hair in the mirror hanging on the back of the door. Ellie slammed open the door and the edge of the door slammed my shin. I screamed at her. I saw her face go from giggly mischief to embarrassment and shame. She ran to her bedroom, threw herself face down on her bed and sobbed.
Molly got onto her bed and rubbed her back. I stood at their door and heard Ellie say, through her tears, “Mommy was so mean to me!”
And of course I tried to make it right. It’s been a long morning of cleaning and dishwashing and picking up toys and double checking and picking up toys and working and picking up toys. My heart is not filled with spontaneous joy and gratitude at this very moment.
I am worried today won’t go well and my guests won’t have a good time. Or enjoy the food. Or think I keep a clean house.
And I am writing this post because perhaps someone else is struggling to get into the holiday mood today. Perhaps someone with worries bigger than my own.
I know we will have a great time regardless of how imperfectly planned and executed this meal may be. It will be about the company and laughing and enjoying our abundance of food and friendship.
Although I am thankful for many things, right now, as I prepare the kitchen for today’s craziness and celebration, I wish you peace and health; and I am so happy for the freedom to share my own ambivalence about the holidays.