It happens this time every year; my annual holiday let down. Each and every December I find myself longing for the way I imagine Christmas should be against the way it actually is. Why do I do this?
Perhaps my mind longs for the days of The Saturday Evening Post and Norman Rockwell's portraits of family life. I imagine my life on his canvas and expect my turkey to be perfectly roasted and my children praying angelically on their knees while carolers merrily stroll across my lawn.
Instead the picture at my house is quite the opposite; the dog eats the garland, the prelit tree is half dark, the ornaments are shattered in their box, the cookies are burnt and I scream and pound my head every time Bing Crosby wishes me "Mele Kalikimaka" from my Midwest bleak winter landscape.
No, my laundry is backed up, my kids are snooping in every closet and the in-laws are on their way to my house and it's not even close to clean. I've ruined two batches of fudge, the family heirloom sugar cookie recipe is lost, I'm hiding my credit card bill from my husband and I've run out of wrapping paper, tape and time.
It's the most wonderful time of the year?
I would much rather be the subject of a Rockwell painting. I long to be cuddled up on the couch with a book and hot chocolate. I want all my gifts wrapped and under the tree. I want a roaring fireplace and my kids to sit admiringly around my feet as they are extremely grateful for the presents they'll receive.
But the more I dwell on how I wish it was the more I miss out on what I actually have now.