Friday, December 23, 2011

Accommodating and Accomplishing

December 25, 2011 brings a 750 mile road trip - after church.

Christmas Day for the Hawley/Schreck/Smith family was Thursday.

"Twas the day after Christmas and all through the house lay the presents unwrapped from my children and spouse......."

Meagan and Nathan flew to NC Friday. John, Joy and Spencer leave for NY on Monday. Frank, Kristin and I will hit Charlotte and Dunn next week.

Because we're blessed to have all our little chickens and their families within spitting distance, we share with glad hearts on every holiday possible.

We spent many years preparing ourselves for the possibility of everyone being spread hither and yon. So to only have to say "Farewell" a few days at a time is truly splendiferous!

We refer to this season of life as "Frosting Time." Having them all around is like frosting to the marvelous gifts God has already given us as a family. And we are thankful!

But even with all this marvelous-ness, there are struggles to overcome and there is snakey water to navigate. Allow me to explain.

Christmas is such an important celebration for us. Probably a few too many traditions and special moments that need to be repeated every single year - without fail.

We're also trying to blend in traditions that are important to John and Nathan too.

Now in order to accomplish all that celebrating and merry-making and tradition honoring, we have to co-ordinate the work schedules of seven adults, the sleep schedule of one amazing grand, the church schedule, travel plans, additional parties, airport runs..................

The opportunity for chaos to reign is unbelievable!

And yet somehow, by the grace of God, we had a proposed plan ready to put into place by the first of December.

It was decided that everyone would come to our house and spend the night on Wednesday for the Christmas Eve traditions. Then we would get up on Thursday morning and treat it just like Christmas Day!

That was the proposed plan.

Oh, wait. We have church on Wednesday night. No problem, we'll just start after church.

Things really started snarling when complimentary tickets for a professional basketball game became available to some. Once in a lifetime opportunity, right? But it just happened to be on (for us) Christmas Eve!

I can hear the lilting English voice on my GPS, "Recalculating!"

Ummmm, okay. No big deal. We have adult children, I'm willing to accommodate their needs/desires. It's Christmas! You should go to the game.

We'll just stay up really late to mark "Christmas Eve" and start a little later on "Christmas Morning." (Even though I'm usually comatose by 9:30 pm; caffeine was meant for times like this!)

Then I got word that the revelers would need to leave our house around 1 or 2 pm in order to finish laundry, clean house and be ready for their flights.

Ummm, what about dinner? How are we supposed to squeeze everything into just four hours? Is it even possible to do Christmas Day on fast forward? Doesn't that defeat the purpose?


No problem, Mom! We'll just throw something on the grill and have a little dinner at John and Joy's while everyone keeps doing laundry and packing. It'll be just fine!


No Ham? No china? No candles? No lingering? No games?

Who raised these children?!!

My Mama-mind immediately pictured the worst scenario:
  • Christmas Story read at top speed.
  • Gifts thrown to recipients.
  • Wrapping paper ripped off and tossed on the floor.
  • "Thanks, Mom and Dad!"
  • "All right, load it up. See you later!"


My accommodation capabilities could not stretch that far!

Fortunately, Frank got to me before I blew a fuse.

After hearing me describe my vision of the worst possibilities, he calmly replied, "That's not what they have in mind, Sheri. Just let Kristin explain what they've discussed. Then we'll work out the details."

Husbands are a gift from God!

"Christmas 2011" did not end up being what I would have scripted. But it was wonderful all the same.

Mostly it was wonderful because God graciously helped me release "Sheri's Script" and embrace what everyone else wanted. A true Christmas Miracle!

And in the middle of all that releasing and recalculating?

We still had a lovely Christmas dinner complete with ham, the trimmings, china and candlelight. It was just at John and Joy's table instead of mine.

Games were played. But they involved a Kinnect instead of a board or cards.

And we lingered much longer than I would have ever guessed.

My accommodating ability now has new boundaries. The needs of my adult children were met without any guilt or condemnation attached. And remarkably, many of my own hopes were fulfilled. A memorable Christmas was had by all.

Mission Accomplished!

If I were to extend one Christmas wish to each of you, dear readers it would be this: "May you be flexible enough this blessed season to not be bent out of shape!"

"And I heard her exclaim 'ere she drove out of sight, Merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night!"


  1. What a wonderful and wondrous piece of writing from a wonderful and wondrous lady. You made me smile, and nod my head in appreciation.

    And now I'm off to cook a "sort of" Christmas dinner for the two chicadees who have landed at our house even though it won't be the Real Christmas dinner we'll be having in Charlotte on Monday, the day AFTER Christmas. (But who's worrying about a silly thing like a calendar, right?)

    If we see you on the NC roads between hither and yon (carrying various chickadees with us) we'll be sure to wave.

    Peace to you, my friend.

  2. Oh, you and Becky get me laughing so hard with much empathy! Tough lesson learned well through a heart open to the Lord. Well done, Sheri! Great advice. I think I'll just head to Christmas Eve service now!

    Buon Natale!


  3. We don't know each other, but I have enjoyed (& learned from) reading your post!

    How true....traditions must change with adult kids. Although my 5 children are still "spouseless", major planning took place to get them all home to Norfolk, VA from law school in Jacksonville, FL, jobs in San Francisco & Washington, DC. Because distance and exams kept 2 away at Thanksgiving, I was determined to make it work!!!
    Went without a hitch! (well almost....San Fran child landed in New York and then fell asleep and missed her connecting flight). Although we had to cram months apart into 2 days, it was well worth it! I am SO thankful that we were blessed with a couple of days together and that all of us truly enjoy our time with each other!

  4. Sheri, I was so glad to read about your willingness to "go with the flow". That was going to be my mantra this Christmas as none of our children live close by but would all be arriving at different times. I loved reading how you managed, and that a good time was had by all. That is true celebration. That you shared Meagan and Nathan so willingly with the Smiths is true generosity! What a gift you gave Becky and Steve and Sarah!