Advent Day Six: Don’t Color Christmas Pictures

I intended for the kids to color Christmas pictures last night for Advent but, well, it didn’t work out. 

Last night was Lydia’s first basketball practice.  She had fun, and I’ll refrain from going into all of the details about chasing Henry up and down the hallways, blockading him from trying to run onto the basketball court, laughing at him as he threw a mini tantrum on the floor, and restraining him while he screamed and cried in my arms because he was tired.  I also won’t mention how the parent meeting was supposed to take place at 7 but the speaker didn’t show up until 7:25, so I could have darted out with both boys until it was time for the parent meeting instead of trying to manage the over-tired infant in the peripheral vision of all of the other parents with their perfect younger children sitting so obediently by their sides, or the other parents who have one perfect child, and that perfect child is on the court practicing, or they left their crazy 19-month-old at home with someone else.

But never mind all of that.  The most important thing is that we did not color Christmas pictures, and we had to color Christmas pictures because we’re supposed to do something every day if the calendar tells us to, every day, otherwise the whole Christmas experience will be ruined!  At least that was Lydia’s take.  Unfortunately, Lydia is learning a lot about disappointment this Advent.  Our Christmas dancing didn’t meet her expectations, our Christmas walk was cut short because Elvis needed to go to the bathroom, and now, oh, now there’s no Christmas coloring! 

My daughter is just like her mother.  I can see exactly how she sets up high expectations for an experience and is almost inevitably let down because other people didn’t quite cooperate with what she had in mind.  She is holding others responsible for her degree of contentment and happiness, and that’s a dangerous pattern.  She’s a pretty reasonable gal, so I’ve been putting her various disappointments into perspective– she still danced and sang with daddy even though Elvis didn’t want to, we still went on a winter walk and also ate at Pizza Hut (double plus bonus!), and the reason we did not have time to color pictures was so that she could go to basketball practice. 

Sometimes we have to choose between joys, and sometimes, even if the situation isn’t quite what we had in mind, we need to choose to find joy.

Published by Sarah M. Wells

Sarah M. Wells is the author of The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Gospels to Help Kids and Parents Love God and Love Others (2022), American Honey: A Field Guide to Resisting Temptation (2021), Between the Heron and the Moss (2020), The Family Bible Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Kids and Parents Engage and Love Scripture (2018), Pruning Burning Bushes (2012), and a chapbook of poems, Acquiesce, winner of the 2008 Starting Gate Award through Finishing Line Press (2009). Sarah's work has been honored with four Pushcart Prize nominations, and her essays have appeared in the notable essays list in the Best American Essays 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, and 2018. Sarah is the recipient of a 2018 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. She resides in Ashland, Ohio with her husband and three children.

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