It’s Christmas Day, though I will confess to finding it hard to feel as in the Christmas spirit as I might like. Frustration has been the name of the last week, and we are still in Indiana. We have one more family thing in Georgia that we *might* be able to make, but it’s going to be a tight squeeze since there are still a few things to be done before we can leave. (Because there’s always one. more. thing.)

The day started early. We decided last night that we would at least go to brunch with the Adams-Curry clan since we were still in town because it felt mean to T to not go and we thought it might be a nice thing to do. Unfortunately, when this morning rolled around and there were a half dozen things that needed doing and less than two hours to do them in, tensions ran high.

Very high.

I’d love to say that I kept my cool, but the reality is that I completely didn’t. I tried. But I had been in the middle of crying my eyeballs out because, as I phrased it this morning, “I had all the feels and they tried to explode out of my face.” Unfortunately, Rin realized that we were running out of time and that there were a lot of things to do still and she started getting stressed out and… the yelling and the snarking started and it didn’t really stop until we’d actually been at brunch for a little bit.

A lot of it likely could have been avoided if the two of us had managed to inhale and find some balance at the same time. It also might have helped if we weren’t working at cross purposes. With the tornadoes that cropped up this week (a large part of why we’d not left in time for Christmas Eve with her Dad and extended family), Rin decided to adopt a “We’ll get there when we get there” mindset. It’s not my favorite, because it ends up stressing me out quite a bit, but I was *trying* really hard to do the same and was (shockingly) managing it better than I had previously.

What I didn’t realize is that she was going in a completely opposite direction this morning. She knows that being late to family things up here has been a major stressor for me, so she was trying to put all of her focus into getting us there a little early even. It…probably would have helped if she’d told me that instead of continuing to be super stressed and cranky that things weren’t working right.

There were added complications of “oh shit, we’re in town and all the gifts aren’t gathered together/made” which certainly took extra time where there really wasn’t any. It basically was a chaotic jumbled mess and tensions were running high.

Normally, I don’t write about stuff in detail like this, but I’m doing so to come  to a point, so I hope she’ll forgive me later. But, in all of the chaos and the arguing, I kept trying to wrap my brain around something I read from Brene Brown yesterday that says, “The magic is in the mess”. I kept trying to remind myself of that sentence over and over again.

Why?

Because this is not my favorite time of the year. Everyone is always more stressed and there are higher expectations for perfection, and when perfection isn’t achieved, it makes the “fall” that much harder. I saw it happen last year and that particular incident has changed entire relationships and I’m still not sure how to fix it or if it can even be fixed. So many people put so much energy into making things work out *just right* that they forget the reason that they are doing the things to begin with.

Rin tried to tell me that this morning and I missed it in the middle of my own brooding/angryness. She wanted to do *something* together as a family today. It was a small thing and it was a goal we both had, but we were attacking it from different angles. By the time we finally got back on the same page, we both got better. And once we got back in the car, we had to let Kero know that we had made up and that we had moved on. (Unfortunately, she kind of was stuck in the car with the two of us bickering the entire way.) We had similar ideas, but we didn’t take enough time to talk about it.

Yet, the magic is in the mess.

I often have trouble when we go to the Adams-Curry gatherings because I feel like an outsider. It’s something that I’m honestly not sure how to mend and there are a lot of factors at play that I don’t want to sidetrack into articulating. But, it happens. And it stresses me out because I feel awkward and ungainly and at best, like a three legged bull in a china shop. Today, there was some of that…

However, when it came time to open presents, one person reminded me that we’re a part of the family, too. She took the time to pick out things that she knew I would like. (Hello new craft storage bag with a bonus surprise!) T’s Mom also works hard to make sure I can eat things (and had to throw a couple of things together last minute since we initially weren’t supposed to be there), and she makes sure to spend some time chatting with Rin and I. (Perhaps it would be better to say that there are a few people I feel outside with.)

I needed the reminder this afternoon. I needed to know that I still had a place to belong there even when it didn’t feel like it. And when I couldn’t tell if the two people who received hand knit items liked them, Rin worked to ferret an answer from one of them. (The other, I am unshocked by not receiving an answer and I do not know why I bothered except I do because she is part of the family and while I have no idea why she doesn’t like me it doesn’t mean I’m going to leave her out but I digress.) But, no matter how you looked at it, I made things and they were lovely and I shared something I love with people I care about.

Was it a little messy and crazy and confusing? Sure it was. Do I have to IOUs outstanding now? You bet. But, it worked out because while some of the goal was to make things people liked, more of it was to share something I love with people I like. I achieved that goal and it’s an accomplishment to be proud of. It is also an accomplishment that I can *see* that given where my head is at this afternoon.

The magic is in the mess.

Our lives are messy. Sometimes, the chaos field is small. Other times? It’s so huge I don’t know how it hasn’t eaten us all alive. This year has been a rough year and we’ve missed a lot. I’m sure we’ve upset a lot of people and let a lot of people down. None of those people will ever know how many tears have been shed for the things and time that we’ve missed and I wouldn’t expect them to. Yet, there have been. A lot of tears. We *hate* disappointing people. We hate making people angry even more because then we feel like we’re in Trouble and that is one of the worst feelings.

Right now, our reality is messy. It comes completely with emotional roller coasters, missed deadlines, and a lot of anxiety. But if we wait until things are calmer, better, etc, we might be waiting an awful long time. But…if I shift the perspective and I stop looking at it from the “We’re fucking everything up” perspective and put on the “the magic is in the mess” perspectacles, it looks a little different.

Several people have done things in the last couple of weeks to let me know that people *do* want to see us. One person in particular (thank you, Chris) took the time to write out several things for me that I am still processing/haven’t had time to respond to because I’ve largely been sick in bed when I’ve not been helping pack that really helped me feel a little less…frantic about all of this travel stuff.

Will we make lunch tomorrow?

I have no clue.

What I do know is that we’ll make the effort doing the best that we can and we’ll find the magic in the mess, no matter where we end up. Because I’m tired of seeking what feels unattainable. I want to spend more time in 2016 living in the moments that *are* instead of the moments that *should be*.

Has today been a chaotic mess? Yep. But there have been good parts to…and hey, they day isn’t over yet.

Happy Christmas!

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