We craft, we sing, we see lights, and we learn about Jesus. We take really cute pictures and post them to this blog or to Facebook. If I did Instagram and Twitter, I'm sure there would be sweet and funny things posted there, too. I'm too much of a curmudgeon to learn new(er) social media, however, so we are limited to just the two.
When I share, I'm not trying to brag or make us look like some sort of perfect example of what to do during the holidays. I'm just trying to share our fun.
But to be completely transparent, we have lots of not-so-fun moments. Things get pretty messy some days.
I had a couple of fun crafts planned, a little patio decorating, and the whole day was to be capped off with some hot chocolate and marshmallows.
What the advent activity for today should have read is, "do whatever the f**k you want, because that's what you are going to do anyway, you selfish little imps." I'm still considering using that in a day or two just to offset another set of expectations.
I should have known that things were not going to go at all according to my vision when I had put the entire advent calendar into the trash can before lunch and informed the boys that, if they were just too big to get excited about these sorts of things, I didn't need to waste my time planning them.
It was one of the highlights of my parenting career, let me tell you.
There were many tears, several apologies, and assurances that they did, in fact, care deeply about the advent activities. Even the ones they had complained about ended up being some of their favorites, they insisted. They promised to be good if only I would remove the calendar from the rubbish bin and give them another chance.
In the spirit of grace and mercy (and because I actually wanted to do some of the things we had coming up), I restored the calendar to its rightful place on the shelf.
It didn't take long, however, for things to go south again.
I entered the classroom and asked them to get ready for our first craft. This was met with cries of, "not yet!" from one little man while the other two flat-out ignored me. I asked them directly to clear off the table so we could get started. Nobody stirred. I left the room and closed the door behind me. Within minutes there was the sound of wild play. It wasn't until 45 minutes later that anyone even realized I had left them and we had not done our craft.
They wanted to know if the room was "clean enough." Truthfully, it looked worse than it had before, and I had had enough.
I told them that, if they didn't care about me, my time, and my plans, then I didn't care about theirs. I didn't care if the room was clean. I didn't care if they were finally ready to sit down with me. I didn't care if they didn't get to do today's advent activity or any other advent activity the rest of the month. I was on a roll.
I told them that they didn't care about the abundant awesomeness that I had planned for them, that I really wanted to give them. They didn't care that there were marshmallows and hot chocolate just waiting for them. They didn't care that I had really wanted to take them to the pool today. They didn't care about any of that because they were too wrapped up in their own little "right now" to see. They couldn't get past the fact that they were having a little bit of fun and understand that what they were missing out on was actually much better! They were too selfish and single minded to see past their temporal pleasures into the abundant blessings which awaited them!
Somehow that took a theological turn.
I am sure glad God doesn't rain down lectures on my head the way I do on my children.
Or, maybe He does. He just uses my own mouth to hammer it into my brain.
Anyway, I digress.
Well, my 3 sons had 3 very different reactions.
My praise whore set to work immediately cleaning with an intensity I've never seen before. Then he admitted the ways he had been disrespectful and inconsiderate and asked if we could please do what I had planned.
My sensitive soul wept bitterly and then quietly cried out to me that he was so sad that we weren't going to do the activity because doing things together as a family was the very best thing about every day. He was so sorry he hadn't acted that way.
My resolute spirit sat in stoic silence. He had nothing to say to me. He was unwilling to admit he had been wrong in any way. Until...I began doing a craft with his brothers and he was not able to participate. Only then was there contrition.
We finished up our holiday activities after a very exhausting and emotional afternoon. The only thing we missed out on was a few hours at the pool, which had been traded for time outs and extra chores.
Everyone even got to have hot chocolate with marshmallows before bed.
Only one mug had a shot of rum in it, though.