Let's do a little Christmas experiment (with my apologies to the Canadian Brass, for all you band folks).
First, let's check out all these pictures of Christmas morning. There was the shot of us riding out a storm, watching a video, and waiting for sister to wake.
There was the Christmas picture by the tree, with most of us looking at the camera. I'm quite proud of this one.
Lots of pictures of opening gifts. In our family, the reaction shot is much sought after.
Pretty happy kids, no? Now check this. "Ryan, hold up your present and smile for Daddy!"
Even Mommy had some great surprises. My mom and Eric really pulled together for this one. I got two snow globes... one with Cinderella and Prince Charming that says, "A perfect fit, right from the start" from Eric, and one that says, "Even miracles take a little time" from Mother.
Yes, I have a shameless crush on all things Cinderella's castle. And, well... mostly all things Cinderella. There are folks reading who remember the first time I ever saw the castle in person. It was quite hilarious. I even dream of doing my dining room around a platter that friends bought for me that is a picture of the castle. Childish? Maybe. But it's how I roll. Someday I'll have to tell you why the castle is so close to my heart. But I digress.
Daddy got some good stuff, too! He was happy to have a picture of the old Baylor stadium before they build the new one. He was opening something else here, but that was the biggie.
After Maelynn opened this, she said, "I have to eat right NOW!" Minnie Mouse dinnerware has that effect on my girl.
And look at that grin, would ya?
Ryan got a robe. A grey robe with a hood, and yes, that is a gorilla face. So cute. He loves it! I think it was his favorite gift. He wore it all day.
Maelynn styling "Pinkie Pie" once I managed to free her from the cardboard and plastic bonds that once held her.
Oh, and Cranky the Crane. This kid has begged for Cranky for. ever.
Richie's favorite was a loop raceway for his "car treats". It was so cool that Granny and GMV, our great-aunt who we had the pleasure of hosting, were in the floor playing and giggling!
Maelynn and her food for her "sick baby". I swear, that doll is sick more than my kids ever were put together! Ha!
Pretty much a great, fun, joyous holiday, right?
Not so much.
This gift-opening, schedule-crashing, sugar-rushing excitement is just too much. He was a ball of nerves when he wasn't curled up in a corner. Lots of hitting, much yelling, fussing, and melting down. Not that he didn't get what he wanted! That "Cranky the Crane" that you see in one of the above pictures is what he's longed for! He was happy for a few minutes. He even said, "Thanks Mom."
But most of the rest of the day was utter confusion. He just didn't know how to handle the chaos.
Today was more of the same. Demanding the hotel over and over and OVER. Then demanding the van to the same degree. Hitting. Yelling. Grunting through his teeth. All this while I had trouble with the dryer, our drains backed up, and I tried to pack. Then we got through packing, and the van wouldn't start. Thankfully, each thing was a minor setback in the end. We did arrive and have dinner with the Dallas family, and it was fun but... you guessed it... it was too much for him again.
Just when I think I've managed to cull out every last bit of expectations of the way things should be out of my head, I forget. I blindly look forward to what I want, forgetting our challenges. The stress headache I'm eager to lose wishes I'd learn. I'm tempted to launch into a rant of my idiocy in not seeing anything coming.
But then I remember the Israelites. They didn't conquer the promised land in a day. It took a long time.
A long time of stepping out and trying again.
A long time of looking forward to, and doing things we love, even if it's hard.
A long time of hard days mixed with good days and even FABULOUS days... because that's life.
So maybe it didn't look like the end of It's a Wonderful Life, with all of us smiling around the tree. But do not lose heart...
Even miracles take a little time.
Hope you're having a merry after-Christmas, too. Because that's what it's all about.
Thanks be to God.