Almost every Broadway musical has what is known as an “I Want” song– that big moment when the main character belts out their deepest heart’s desire. Elphaba wants to be degreenified by the Wizard. Audrey (1) wants to go Somewhere That’s Green. Pippen wants to find his Corner of the Sky and Tevya wonders what life would be like if he was a rich man. If I had an “I Want” song for this week, it would have been all about making a perfect Christmas experience and home for my family.
I wanted to clean the house.
I wanted to check and make sure I had all the gifts.
I wanted to be happy and cheerful.
I wanted to fill the house with music and laughter and memories.
I wanted to carry on traditions– some of which only exist in my mind because I never got around to doing them other years as well.
I wanted to make everything perfect and start off next year on the right foot.
Instead? We’ve argued a lot. We’ve had breakdowns. We’re all sick of the house and of each other. We’re all anxious and worried and unsure what next year will bring, let alone what magical rituals we have to find to make sure it’s better than this year. My brain has been fritzing all over the place and I’m tired from not sleeping well. I’ve been pushing myself too hard teaching and I’ve made some pretty stupid and embarrassing mistakes in both my personal and my professional life.
So, I’m lowering my expectations. I’m (trying to) listen to my loved ones and give them what they want, even if that isn’t what I want.
When I lamented to my oldest daughter that I forgot to buy the stuff to make gingerbread houses but I’m avoiding stores because of COVID but didn’t really trust anyone to pick out all the right kinds of candy, she literally begged me not to do it. Turns out she hates that tradition. I never knew!
I’m getting my kids for an extra three hours on Christmas Eve and I am so incredibly joyful about it. We used to make clam chowder on Christmas Eve when I was still a pastor’s wife– filling, yummy, but pretty quick and easy when you have to get to church– so we’re doing that again this year.
We started reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and the youngest three are loving it.
We put a laptop in our non-working fireplace and fired up the Arendelle Yule Log on Disney Plus.
My teaching is winding down, and eventually maybe we’ll get to some of the traditions. I’m trying to engage in some self-care and reach out to friends and loved ones. I’m trying to count my blessings. And we’ll see what the new year brings.
Meanwhile, I do have one thing I would love to share with you. Daniel has been in CLO’s A Musical Christmas Carol for three years– twice as Tiny Tim and last year as Turkey Boy. He’s worked with some phenomenal actors, including Patrick Page and Richard Thomas. This year, live theater is out, and Pittsburgh CLO has given the incredible gift of streaming it for free for all to see. You can watch it here. The show starts about seven minutes in, but you can also see in those first seven minutes what an amazing organization my children are fortunate enough to be part of.