Busy time, this. Today I made a decision to stay in all day, avoiding all errands in order to get all my holiday baking done. Ha! First of all, anyone who thinks she's going to get "all" of anything done with a four year old in tow is seriously delusional. Second of all, the quickest way to assure you're going to be obligated to go to the store is to foolishly announce that you are absolutely NOT going to the store. For me, that statement instantly led to rancid whole wheat flour. (Well, technically, I would wager that it was rancid before I said anything, but you understand what I mean.)
The day began with a once again fallen Christmas tree, which the Man was kind enough to set upright, but it fell to me to pick up all the ornaments that had fallen off, and fix all of the ones that had not fallen off, but were twisted and strange, some of them hanging upside down. In addition, the lights were all wonky from the fall, so I had to figure that out, too, and if I haven't mentioned it before, "the perfect tree in the world" is very sappy. Sappier than a Karen Carpenter Christmas song, the Man has decided, and I'm pretty sure he's right. In any case it's a messy business, fixing that tree.
From the tree I moved on to the kitchen, where for some reason I could not figure out how to bake cookies. Strange, because I bake zillions of them every year around this time, but today I sort of wandered back and forth, looking at recipes, incapable of making a decision. I also made lists of cookie recipients, and counted tins, though I never did come to a conclusion regarding whether the numbers match up. I think I may be coming down with a case of brain fog.
Small wanted to help today, bless her little heart. But she has the sniffles, which has put her out of sorts, and on top of that, well, she's four. She helped me turn the mixer on and off a few times, then lost interest and began singing songs and telling stories. This all sounds very charming, I realize, but there are few things more capable of sucking your brain out through your ears than a four year old, on her 400th chorus of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, or telling you in great detail the particularly fascinating story of why her rubber ducks have decided to hide in a shoebox. When it came to the part where she was explaining to me the relationship between her pull toy ducks and her toy horse, while the pull toy quacked incessantly, I assigned her the task of setting up the Nativity scene in the living room, which kept her out of my hair for about ten minutes, and afforded me enough brain capacity to make lunch.
By naptime, though, I was ready for her to go to sleep. I was hustling her up to her room when she asked me, "Mommy, why does Rudolph have a red shiny nose?"
I was feeling sassy. "Birth defect!" I answered cheerfully.
She had a different explanation. "I think," she said, "that God made his nose bright and red so that he could see through the fog."
I felt bad for being flippant, and I told her she was probably right.
"I also think," she continued, "that our car is just like Rudolph's nose. Because our car doesn't look like ANYBODY else's car in the WHOLE family."
This is true. Our car has been the victim of a few mishaps, and it is not in, shall we say, showroom quality. It looks very poor indeed next to my mother's convertible, or my sister's sporty little suv. But that, I was surprised to learn, is not what Small One meant.
I asked her how our car was different, and she looked at me in surprise that I didn't know something so obvious. "It's big enough to hold our WHOLE family!" she said. Then she continued, "That's why God gave it to us, it's just like Rudolph's nose. It's perfect for us!"
Ahh... where I saw the surface bumps and bruises, she was looking at the deeper blessing. Seems like perfect is her word of the month, and I'm beginning to think that is my Christmas gift from God- the perpetual reminder to see the perfection in the mundane, to understand that things don't need to be flawless to be perfect for us. I think this Christmas will be perfect.