We all have our little “ways” of doing things and I believe that this is just great. Life would be so boring if we all behaved the same, had the same routines, thought the same thoughts. I’ll let you in on a little secret, my family have long since believed that I suffer from OCD – in my defence, I prefer to think of it as my “quirkiness”, the thing that makes me different from everyone else.
I see myself as a calm, patient and easy going person (honestly!) but for a while now I can appreciate – and to some extent, agree with- the thought processes of my family. Life is hectic – three children, one house, one husband, four dogs and a full time career makes for excellent time keeping skills. Roll into that mix the fact that we used to own a beautiful horse too – a dream come true, but a living nightmare to organise. Feeding twice a day, exercising, cleaning stable, filling hay nets and poo picking fields – all with three children under the age of 14 and me being a full time teacher. Oh, did I also mention, my husband works away each week and generally is only home Friday-Sunday? Calm, well, I think so but reflecting back on it all now, I think I had controlled the situation and had reached a level of “calm” that meant I didn’t explode all the time. It seems I control many aspects of our life – hence my “name” – Easy Going Control Freak. Sometimes I wonder if I am aware that I am doing it, or if it is just second nature to have a planned way of doing things. I like to be organised. Plain and simple. I am a list person. I like things to be accomplished well and to the best of our abilities.
Herein lies the problem, I think. The abilities of everyone are not the same! Nor should they be, I hear you say… well, I agree with you. As an educator I am well versed in accepting (and enjoying) the many different talents of my students and I am the first person to tell child A that YOUR best might not be the same level of best as child B but that doesn’t matter because it is still your best and that’s all we can give. Sounds cliched but it is something I wholeheartedly believe.
So, where does the Christmas tree come into it? Well, remember I said that I believe that everyone’s best effort is the epitome of success? That doesn’t apply when decorating the Christmas Tree!
In our home, we usually have two trees at Christmas. One, always a freshly cut tree between 7 and 8 foot, that takes pride of place in our hall and the other, an artificial one that sits in one of our front rooms. For me, decorating the tree is an absolute joy. I love the idea of playing carols, singing along with the family, a glass of something sparkly to give some festive cheer and everyone laughing together as we all dress the tree together. The IDEA and the truth of it are so far apart that it’s become a family “inside joke”. When our children were smaller, we all used to do exactly what I thought would be ideal. Little faces filled with delight as they put their favourite baubles on the branches, giggles as they adorned themselves with tinsel before wrapping it around the branches and sheer excitement as they helped put the fairy on top and switch on the lights. Sounds idyllic doesn’t it. It was. The children would go to bed happily and before my own bed time, I would rearrange everything so it looked “better”. The children began to wise up to this by the time our eldest was about 9, however, I managed to “deny” any such skulduggery and got away with it for a few more years.
Then came the, “if we decorate this tree are you going to change it when we go to bed?” Of course, what self respecting mother would dream of telling fibs to their children? Yep, I changed it around, just a little! It came as no surprise when they stopped helping altogether, to be honest, I think they persevered well considering. These days, the children (all grown up now, youngest is 21) still get excited about the trees going up but they all steer well clear when it comes to the decorating. There are perks of the job though. The children keep the sparkles coming and reload the music playlist so I can just get on with the job!
Gotta love a bit of control, but OCD, not me!