Saturday, January 3, 2015

Trigger Happy

My blogger dashboard includes at least a dozen drafts ~ some published works, later unpublished for various reasons; some begun works, never finished.  This piece is something I've been trying to produce since Christmas Day.  I've written, re-written, edited, re-edited, stacked paragraph upon paragraph of explanation, never attaining a lick of clarity.  Hopefully, what follows will not include any of the garbled mess I've constructed thus far and will just make the point.  It's time to just pull the trigger on this one.


We've had a dialed-down version of Christmas pretty much since our kids have been grown enough to splinter off and form even more places that must be visited for the holidays. They and the grandbabies come for breakfast on Christmas morning between the santa stuff in their own homes and the forty gazillion other places they'll have to visit on Christmas Day.

That's it.
Just breakfast.
A couple of humble gifts for the g'babes.
Not a lotta hullabaloo.



This year I caught myself in a peculiar pattern that I now realize I've been practicing for some time.  While my Christmas morning breakfast menu is simple and everything I need is here for days in advance, I almost invariably go bonkers on Christmas Eve and decide to make a whole slew of extra vittles1, having neither the time nor ingredients that I need.

No longer quiet.

No longer simple.

Now, this is the point at which all previous attempts to convey my thought have gone awry.  I think that here is where simple is really going to count so I'll skip all the textbook analyses and postulations.  Rather, I'll just tell you what I know to be true.

And you know this too:  I talk about myself a lot ... but I feel kind of at the center of it all, you know?  Like, I'm the source and axis of everybody's drama, sadness, neurosis, etc. ~ the supreme matriarch of a supremely dysfunctional family.

But I would like so much for things to be different.  I would like so much to bless my family, to BE a blessing to my family.  Maybe it's an extremely absurd effort, but I see the utterly absurd truth of it right there in the cranberry bliss bars.

There's something more to this pattern, though, and its genesis can be found in one of Melody Beattie's daily meditations, Holiday Triggers.

It was clearest to me this Christmas Eve when I gave the batter bowl to the g'boy.

Having grown up in a single Momma home, I had my share of (resultant) childhood troubles.2   To some, it may seem an ordinary thing, but for me, a batter bowl and beaters is an extravagant and lavish gift. When my momma handed those things over to my sister and me, it was, well, joy unspeakable! Delight, security, peace, love.  Otherwise, indescribable.  All of this and more, in those moments, dwelled there among the three of us.

I'm reminded of it every time I bake.

And therein lies my real goal, my honest-to-God-I-just-know-it motivation for wigging out right before my family gathers.

For all that's been wrong in the past ~ the childhood troubles, the bad days, the crappy years ~ I'd like so much to replace the [textbook analyses] with something that might trigger happy memories.  We've had a few of those too, after all.

I pray that all of you have happy triggers, and that if you don't, you find the will to make some.

1   I grew up country.  Do not correct me!
2   This is a necessary relational statement.
2a Her single Momma troubles deserve another post entirely.

Can't fail to share this post by Jen Hatmaker, a really good resource for anybody whose family struggles with big event days.

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