Friday, January 2, 2015

"Christmas Vacation" meets "It's a Wonderful Life" or How Christmas Didn't Crash and Burn

Happy New Year!

What's on your heart and mind as the new year begins?

Were your holidays peaceful and loving? Or a chaotic? Or full of family drama? I'd love to hear!

Did you ever see the movie Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase? There are several scenes where Chevy is very frustrated and upset. He kicks and beats up plastic reindeer from his front yard. He cuts down a tree from his front yard with a chain saw to replace the one burned down by his elderly relative.

Mine wasn't quite that bad, but I was worried for a while. Christmas Eve was so much like my own childhood Christmases, which were a bit like Christmas Vacation. Chaos. Emotional spewings. Blah. This year, things fell apart all over a present my youngest son got from his dad, a boat that he could play with in our pool. It was a hobby remote control speed boat, which apparently had some problems. First minute in the water and it lost a propeller. All the tiny little pieces fell to the bottom of the pool. The pieces were too small to see or to pick up with the net, so my 11 year old had to go into the cold pool and find the tiny pieces in the dark. He insisted. (I suggested a level head, daylight, and some sleep might help, but he didn't like that idea.)

An hour later, he finally found all the pieces and put the boat back together. My older son drove the boat to have a turn and it broke before it made it across the pool once. This is when the screaming started. Everything went downhill from here. No one handled it well. This is the part that reminded me of plastic reindeer flying through the air.

The thing that was so hard for me about this is that I grew up with chaos like this from my two younger brothers. Christmas was like this a lot. And I've worked really hard to have our holidays be very different. I was surrounded by friends and my partner who were there to help support my boys and me. That made all the difference. And our holiday wasn't ruined. In fact, when everyone did calm down, we were all able to reconnect. And Christmas Day was really great. It was a bit more like the ending of, "It's a Wonderful Life." That was a first for me.

Parenting consciously doesn't mean that everything is perfect all the time or that we always handle everything perfectly the first time. It's about recognizing when things are going down an undesired path, reconnecting with yourself and others who can support you so you can reconnect with your kids.

In the past, this would have ruined not only my day, but also my week. Instead, it helped me to see how far I've really come.

Would you like to learn more?


The Purling Cat said...

Thank you, this is a great constructive read and great timing too. We've had one of these tough moments yesterday.


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