I love Christmas. I really love it, and not just the presents. I love the music, the weather, the tree, the decorations, the baking... everything! The last couple Christmases have come during difficult times for our family. Last Christmas, heavily pregnant with twins, we found out that as of the first of 2010, we would be losing 75% of our income. Panic set in quickly. Needless to say, I was more than preoccupied last yuletide season.
This Christmas has been better... things are still tough financially, but we have weathered the worst of the storm. We had two healthy babies join our family in 2010, including our first and only daughter. Brandon and Nathan, our older boys, are doing well in school and Ian, our 3 year old, is blossoming with the individual attention he is getting being home with Mom. So this Christmas season has definitely been a lot more jolly...
...which is why I get so annoyed when someone rains on my holiday parade.
A certain mother-in-law of mine, who will remain nameless, called this morning to see if Brandon (7) would like to come over to her house and make Christmas candy with her and the cousins. My husband politely told her that if she had Brandon over, we would have a hard time explaining to Nathan (5) and Ian (3 1/2) why they were not invited to the festivities at Grandma's house. Her response: a very merry "don't bring any of them." Yikes. I was none too pleased, but tried not to make a big deal about it.
But it bothered me... all...day...long.
My mother-in-law and I have a rather colorful history. She has never cared for me. And because she has never liked me, it has made it difficult for me to like her. But I have tried, for the sake of my husband, to be civil.
My own mother, the sweetest most generous and loving woman on the planet, lives nearly 1000 miles from us. She would give her right arm to be able to chase my lovelies all over the kitchen while things burned and she would have cheerfully cleaned up all of the things they spilled too! I was hurt for my kids. They don't get to spend a lot of time with grandparents. We live 10 miles from my in-laws yet we see them fewer than 4 or 5 times a year.
That's when it hit me. Some people care more about the outcome than the experience. They are more concerned with the product than the process. I learned in college calculus that the right answer didn't mean a darn thing if you didn't show your work. My mother-in-law was more concerned with getting Christmas candy made than spending the afternoon with her grandchildren. Someone should tell her, it's more about how you get there than where you go. I guess maybe I should remember that too, especially at Christmas.
But I'm still seething about my mother-in-law...!