In the spirit of creating holiday magic for the kids, I excitingly bought their very first gingerbread house to make with one another. My two oldest are finally at the age where they’re breathing in the magical air that is Christmas. They hounded me about opening it ever since sneaking an eye of my purchase a few weeks ago and I insisted that mommy had just the “right time” to pull it out. I needed a good round of bribery before whipping that bad boy out to help get us all through another exhausting week.
It was as if I told them Santa would be waiting for them inside a window of that disheveled gingerbread house. As each piece found its way out of the plastic, they couldn’t stop screeching with excitement. Then came the individual packets of candy. This folks was the real lottery and let me help understand why. I try to operate on an 80/20 rule in our house where we try to eat healthy and organic at least 80% of the time.
Of all things to break our 80/20 rule, I try really hard for candy to not be part of it. Did you know I’m a sweetaholic? Yeah, so having candy within an arm reach of me calls for immediate surrendering. So, back to the gingerbread house. The kids couldn’t wait to tell me that they knew what each bag of candy was.
“Mom, those are peppermints.”
“Mom, those look like M&M’s.”
I was beginning to get a bit concerned. I had originally thought I could give them the gingerbread house while I made each of their birthday cakes for their party the following day.
Then, did I mention that I whipped this thing out just an hour or so before bedtime? That would be another big mistake. This was beginning to look a bit too risky when you’ve been operating on a cup of coffee and Triscuit Dill crackers (also not part of the 80/20 rule) since 6 a.m. But, I continued to lay it all out and off they went.
Now when I write off they went, what I really mean is off “it” went. The gingerbread house was about to crumble off of kitchen table from all of the arm-shoving and side-pinching in order to fight for that 20% of the rule breaker. Like most of us parents, I spent nearly as much time redirecting as I did finding pieces of candy shoved in pockets that I assume they were attempting to sneak for later. So in between making two cakes and playing referee, they continued at putting that gingerbread house together.
I went downstairs to bring the laundry up to fold while they worked at it some more. When I came up, it was miraculously quiet, so of course I was suspicious. Isaiah had one packet of icing in one hand trying to fill in the corners of the windows while Autumn patiently waited to put the snowflakes onto the icing. They were completely engrossed in bringing their creative and imaginative vision to life (and to eat). I sat on the living room floor watching them until I eventually put the laundry down. These two were the most adorable site and suddenly, tears started to roll down my face. I didn’t want them to see me and thank God they were too distracted. I wiped my face and continued to watch.
Isaiah held up one of the gingerbread cookies and asked if he could take a bite before placing it on the front frame of the house. The look in his eyes was priceless when I said, “Yes honey. Just one bite though.” Autumn quickly followed behind to take a bite of hers. They looked at one another and no soon after giggling, said “Yummy mommy. It’s good.” Before I knew it, they both took their decapitated and amputated gingerbread men and placed it onto their house. My tears of joy turned into uncontrollable laughter. They looked at me with smeared color dye (never part of our 80/20 rule) and gingerbread crumbs from the top of their lips and all I saw was peace.
I must say, they didn’t do too shabby of a job considering they’re 5 and 3. We put the gingerbread house on the top of the fridge where it wouldn’t likely break 30 seconds after displaying their proud work of art. There it stood. I had to take the moment in. I have stopped to look at the decapitated and amputated gingerbread men several times and it still makes me smile. These are the moments I once dreamed about as a mother. Dreams I didn’t even think would be fulfilled. It didn’t matter that they were as messy as my kitchen floor was now a sliding rink of candy. It didn’t matter that they would likely be up way past their bedtime or that our rule went from 80/20 to 10/90. All that mattered was that they invited me into their joy amidst another exhausting week, utter chaos and upset tummies.
Oh and I may have even stolen some of their candy. I figured, “What the hell.” We’ve clearly broken the rule, so why not go all the way?
In Love & Truth,