I have a love/hate relationship with my Pottery Barn catalog. On one hand, I love sitting on my comfy couch, which is, coincidentally, from Pottery Barn, glass of bubbly in hand, thumbing through the beautiful pictures and exquisitely styled rooms. I love the dining room tables I am certain were created by some Martha Stewart wanna be. I ogle the perfectly ironed linens and toothpaste goo-free bathrooms. I imagine my own couch, sans crayon streaks and juice stains, and feel for a few fleeting moments, that the rooms in my house could actually resemble those on each glossy page if I simply put in the effort.
Then I am smacked back into reality when I arrive at my least favorite part of the catalog, the photo collages. I detest them. I really do. I loathe them because again, for a fraction of a second, I can picture my own rug rats, skipping, hair blowing in a gentle breeze, hand in hand, down the beach. Right- one of mine would surely push the other into oncoming surf. Inside I must wrestle with the truth… that no matter how hard I try, and however many photo-op threats I make or cute outfits I buy, my photo collages will never be as disturbingly perfect as the ones in the Pottery Barn catalog.
“What in tarnation does that have to do with Christmas traditions?” you may be wondering. A lot. Seriously.
Admit it. You’ve been there. You’ve listened to friends (or frenimies) regale you of their long-standing family traditions, complete with floating music, glistening tears of happiness and Norman Rockwell lurking somewhere in the background quietly snapping photos (to be used in Pottery Barn collages, no less) like a seasoned stalker.
Let’s face it. Christmas, the Big Kahuna of holidays, comes with a mountain of pressure. I can distinctly remember a friend of mine retelling a story, over bubbly no less, of her mother seething, teeth clenched and with fresh sweat on her brow, that, “dammit, we’re gonna make some memories if it kills us!” After I doubled over and tumbled from my chair with side-splitting laughter, I sobered up (literally). Wait, “we may all have a memory or two like that,” I mused to myself. We’ve all felt the pressure. We’ve all measured ourselves inferior to what we thought was someone’s picture perfect life, family, vacations, experiences or memories.
No one’s life is perfect. No family tradition goes off every year without a hitch. Everyone has some nutty cousin or uncle they’re looking to disown. Aren’t the hiccups, breakups and crackups what make a memory that much more, well, memorable? This year I vow to grab my bubbly, plop onto my peanut butter stained couch, remove the toy solider from under my butt cheek and face the Pottery Barn catalog with new confidence. Perfect Christmas traditions and photo collages aside, my life is mine and I’m proud of it- the good, the bad and the ugly. I hope you’ll join me, both with a glass of bubbly and with your first New Year’s resolution of 2011. To live everyday in the present, to love life, pitfalls and highlights, to accept the ones you love, quirks and all, and most importantly, to realize that imperfection is what makes life interesting and worth living.
I raise my glass to you- Merry Christmas!