My Christmas tree sits naked and forlorn in the corner of my living room.
It's joined by an entire Christmas village boxed and crowded onto one couch. Nativity sets UN-arranged and strewn from entertainment center to buffet. Three extra large, completely full tupperware containers stacked in the middle of the floor. And a wreath leaning sadly against a chair.
(For musical types: you could sing that last sentence using the partridge in a pear tree line from Twelve Days of Christmas. "....and a wreath leaning sadly on a chair!")
I've seen your pictures on facebook.
Perfectly coiffed trees; glowing mystically. Mantles decorated using this season's brightest green ribbons. One friend has an elf making appearances all over her house; much to the delight of her small children. And the quintessential Christmas photos are just now beginning.
Between events yesterday, Frank and I tried to snag a picture with the grandbabies. Everyone was dressed nicely for church. Everyone was fed, dry, content. (The children were happy, too.) The church tree is stunning.
Perfection called to me.
"Quick!" I implored. "Someone grab your camera phone and snap a picture. Please!"
Kristin slowed down long enough to take seven pictures. In one of those seven, we all looked at the camera at the same time. And kinda smiled. (Poppa held Noah who slept through it all.)
In most of them, someone was trying to escape. So we have one shot of Spencer with his legs dangling off Noni's lap and my arm around his chest holding on for dear life.
Then we tried standing the older ones in a chair for the fun of the forbidden.
No good. Three shots show Abby's progressing determination.
- Eyeing the escape route.
- Kneeling forward.
- Arms up in the air with one brother and two grandparents reaching for her.
All five photographic subjects fully engaged - completely unaware of the camera.
It's not about perfection. It's about participation.
At some point this week, my tree will be dressed. My creches lovingly arranged. My village set in order. My wreath hung. My mantel adorned. (No, wait. We don't have a fireplace. But you get the idea.)
I know this because we have company coming this weekend.
But I'm sure I'll stop a dozen times to look at the slightly imperfect picture of life on my camera phone. And I'll smile at the frowns and flailing arms that signal "Participation!"