Monday, December 10, 2007

Desperately Real Housewives

There are a lot of gorgeous blogs out there this time of year, filled with images of smiling children, beautifully handcrafted gifts, and gorgeously decorated homes. I ooh and ahhh at the pretty snow scenes and sigh at the glittery soft edged vignettes of holiday trees. These posts inspire me. They make me want to jump up and make my own home look just as beautiful. I want to have the perfect holiday too!

But life isn't really like that. Every once in a while I stumble upon a post where someone admits that they don't have it all together yet. Or that they're feeling overwhelmed and depressed this time of year. Psssst. The truth is that the reason many blogger's photos are upclose is because if they weren't cropped you'd see the laundry on the floor next to the pretty table top display or the trash can that fell over just out of sight of the snowy winterwonderland. And of course don't forget someone has to go shovel all that wonderland eventually. And do that laundry.

I'm guilty of portraying a pretty, but incomplete, picture myself. The post and photos I did of the uptown Tree Lighting night in our small town. It was as fun and it was as magical as I wrote about it. But on the way back to the car I ended up following a family where the husband and wife screamed profanities at each other over the children's heads for two blocks. Sigh. A not so perfect ending to what had been a perfect day. I left that part out because, why ruin it for the rest of you.

It's like that scene in Practical Magic where Sally and her aunts are walking through town. Aunt Jet is trying to be nice to people but everyone is avoiding them.

[Aunt Jet:] Hello. Hello, darling, how are you?
[Aunt Frances:] Oh, Jet, just give it up.
[Aunt Jet:] Never.
[Sally:] All I want is a normal life.
[Aunt Frances:] My darling girl, when are you going to understand that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.
[Sally:] Well, it's what I want.
[Aunt Jet:] You see this couple here? He's having an affair with the babysitter. And she can eat a poundcake in under a minute.

We know that normal isn't... well, normal. Under the surface things aren't always what they seem. I know for example that several of my friends who seem to be able to do everything, have maid service or a secretary or far fewer family members to appease. I know that the family my son Joe as a teen used to always compare our family to unfavorably (their mother cooked anything they wanted to eat, their family had lots of money, their family had a Victorian house that could pass a white glove inspection, their family had a full sized Christmas tree in every room), is now split apart and many of the family member's lives are in shambles.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with painting a rosy picture of things or in striving to create one. Not at all! We all need inspiration and we need fairytales. It helps us to get through facing the scary dragons in our lives and times of wandering frightened and alone through dark forests, when we can hold fast to the idea of a "happily ever after" to come. And some days we really do feel we've pulled it all together. For one shimmering moment, we're in the center of our "happy".

But there are days when all those pretty pictures don't inspire us, they only make one feel inadequate. Despite everything we do, there's that one child that continues to pout or we notice the windowsill we thought we'd cleaned has brand new muddy paw prints on it. The cake turns out lopsided and the husband is grumpy and no one wants to hear you sing holiday carols because they're trying to listen to Family Guy. Why does everyone else have a handsome prince or a shiny (and clean) castle and a perfect life and not you? Or so it seems.

Sometimes we don't want another reminder of how far from perfect we are. Somedays, instead, we need to to find other less than perfect companions, fling our arms around each other's shoulders and sing a round or two in fallen-from-grace fellowship.

If you're planning a pity party and need the perfect tune, I found it here. Make sure you listen to the MP3 so you can sing it to yourself next time you're elbow high in dishes while everyone else is watching the football game. I am so going to memorize this one so I can annoy my family.

And yet, this lovely little ditty is really more my style. Tell me your life doesn't feel like this video some days!

Last but not least, here's an article that suggests that us messy people are the new chic. It's probably true, I've always been one or two steps ahead of the crowd when it comes to trends.

Ironically, today is not a day in which I'm feeling overwhelmed despite the fact that I'm at least a month behind in what I'd hoped to accomplish by this date, despite the fact that I've just rounded the corner on the realization that once again there's no way in H.E.Double Hockey Sticks (don't you just love how I use the word "Fuck" but spelled out the word "Hell"?) I'll be able to get everything done on time. Maybe I'm feeling good because I've reached the point of letting go of the fantasy holiday and embracing the messy, chaotic real holiday. That's why this this all makes me laugh today instead of cry. And now, more irony, I'm off to attempt a whirlwind catch up on several fronts - wrapping, decorating, and cleaning. I might embrace reality but I still like to chase the dream.


Blogger Scarlett said...

Thank you for stating for the record, what I have been wanting to say about some of the blogs. Some of it looks like a magazine shoot.

Meanwhile, my house is comfortable and lived it.

BTW, is Fuck not the most wonderful word to say??

5:52 PM  
Blogger Jan said...

Messy people are the new chic? Finally! I'm CHIC!
I checked out your songs but have you checked out this one:
if it doesn't come up do a youtube search for the Mom song sung to William Tell overture. Too funny!
Happy Holidays. Ackkk!!

6:15 PM  
Blogger DubiQuilts - Debbi said...

I am so glad you posted my photo!!!! I had to call my husband over to see your posting and I said is that not me? He said yep and walked away.

When I younger I had to do everything "right" now it is just good getting out of bed everyday.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Tanya Brown said...

Great post, right on the mark.

I myself posted some tightly cropped shots today so that people couldn't see the parakeet crap, parakeet feathers, partially deflated balloons and mystery filth on my floor.

Perfection is much overrated. Far better to have a life full of love and chaos. At least, that's what I'm telling myself as I walk by my overflowing sink of dirty dishes.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome post! I am the same way, and I don't think there are any moms out there who really have it all perfect.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Jaye said...

Now is the time you need your gift bags. ;-)

2:40 PM  

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