Forget Norman Rockwell

I was totally enjoying my cozy little “gaze at the Christmas tree while sipping a cup of coffee in the peaceful early morning” moment today when my cat began scratching and whining (loudly) at the mudroom door. I tried to tune him out but that cat makes a racket when he feels the indignity of not being fed at 5:30 am. Promptly. So I had to get up and go feed him, then I noticed the hairball he had kindly left on the rug, so I had to get that cleaned up and my cozy moment was done. By the time I finished it was time to get the little sweet pea up. Norman Rockwell moment- done.Just for FunWhich got me to thinking about how at the holidays we are often trying to find those “perfect, facebook worthy pictures” to capture and document for ourselves and everyone else that we really do live A Wonderful Life. (insert bell ringing on tree, and cue the music…..) I grew up watching The Cosby Show and Family Ties and I always loved how in any awkward or tense moment the parents or kids had just the right comment to add humor or knew exactly how to empathetically communicate just the right words so that Vanessa would agree she had been unkind to Rudy. And there would be hugging and maybe a tear or a poignant smile and, cue the music….. But, life is just not that scripted. It’s real and our best moments are not always captured in a photo. And often the pursuit of a special moment is full of angst and stress and disappointment.

My husband, who generally speaking, dislikes anything scripted or structured has taught me a lot, at the holidays especially, about letting moments naturally evolve. Not putting so much pressure on myself to create them or on others to respond in the way I have pictured in my head. Sometimes 15 year olds pout during your office party. Sometimes no one likes the holiday meal you tried from Southern Living. Sometimes you’re too tired to actually enjoy the fun family event you planned. It’s just life.

But, if you stop to breath and reflect, you may discover (as I have) that there are many wonderful little Norman Rockwell moments you didn’t plan that occur if you can have eyes to see them. Sometimes your 15 year old plans to spend $50 of his own birthday money on his brother because he wants to be more generous this year. Or your entire family is unexpectedly home and sitting around the dinner table laughing. Or your husband spends four hours fixing the lights on the tree after they go out just so it will be beautiful for the season. Or the cat sleeps in.

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