Beautiful imperfection

I woke this morning in a happy glow. Last night, friends and a few family members gathered in our little house on a cold and blustery Halloween night to share a potluck dinner. It was just as I imagined it: cozy warmth and laughter, recounting stories of tripping or freezing while walking the uneven sidewalks in our little circle of houses. The kids looked adorable and wore happy smiles.

But it didn't start out that way ...

The day started, however, with some amount of dread. Do you, like me, look forward to holidays or other events in theory, but fall apart with the chaos that comes alongside?

Part of this I've come to realize is my impractical, completely too-high expectations. Even though I try to be flexible, it doesn't come easily to me. I have a vision of what an experience should look like (most often it's close to perfection), how I want to feel and how others should act/not act. And when this doesn't come to pass, I teeter on the edge of deep disappointment.

Most of yesterday was spent worrying that things wouldn't be comfortable. Our house is small and there were at least seventeen people coming, maybe more. From past experience I know that walking our neighborhood for trick-or-treating leaves me frozen. A stiff wind always finds me and makes it feel as though I'm not wearing a stitch of clothing. I didn't know how to keep my mashed potatoes warm without them drying out (we had to visit some family by car in the late afternoon for treats and lots of picture taking). We don't have enough chairs, where would everyone sit? And would the kids grind food into the rug or spill drinks everywhere?

The non-perfect, good-enough experience

The night was good. Not perfect. We had some stragglers in the house that had bathroom and wardrobe issues which meant that half of our party left without us. I fumed a little as I waited, tapping an irritated foot in the driveway. But after tracking down my son and making the rounds, I felt the steam dissipating. The moon was beautiful, with a halo of white around it; dried leaves rustled and danced over the pavement; the air was full of the sounds of happy kid squeals; I pictured myself back in our cozy house, sipping a mug of mulled wine and relaxing.

Just for today, let me put aside unreasonable expectations of perfection. Let me laugh at my tendency to become jittery when things are out of my control. Let me open myself up to reality instead of shiny, Pinterest-perfect ideas of how things should be. 

Let me just be. 


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