Thursday, December 18, 2008

In a Pear Tree?

Last year as our family sat around the breakfast table Christmas morning, then 8-year-old Carson brought up the familiar holiday song "The Twelve Days of Christmas."

"Wouldn't it be funny," he asked, "if someone ended the song 'and a Pop Tart in a pear tree'?"

That question led to a fun family game that stands out as my favorite memory of last year's holiday, as we turned the familiar carol into "The Twelve Breakfasts of Christmas." We worked our way around our table of six as we sang, adding to the list one by one. Even little Emma, still 1 at the time, would chime in with the words she could remember.

As we progressed through the song, we laughed trying to remember each family member's choices: "... four bowls of cereal, three French toasts, two scrambled eggs and a Pop Tart in a pear tree." Even months later, the children giggled trying to recall all 12 breakfasts.

Although by now most of our silly lyrics may have been forgotten, the blessings of that precious family time remain. I will always remember the simple beauty of that moment: the comfort of gathering around the table as a family on Christmas morning; the love in the room so intense it was palpable; and the sweet harmony of voices raised in laughter and song.

In short, it was pure, unbridled joy.

I hope our family will share many more serendipitous moments like this over the years because it's these special memories that draw our hearts home at the holidays.

And years from now, I hope you will know us if you see our family gathered for Christmas. We'll be the ones who erupt into giggles as our voices ring out at full voice: "Five strips of BACON!!!"

Photo from Google Images


8 comments:

Sandy Toes said...

How funny..my son would love a Pop Tart in a Pear Tree..he loves those things! So bad for you :)!
Happy Thursday!
-sandy toes

Leah said...

Such a sweet memory! Thanks for sharing!

Home School Dawn said...

How cute! I could see this being turned into a commercial for Kelloggs or IHOP.

T. Brodie said...

I love it! That sounds like a ton of fun.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I love your blog. I wish I could be more like you. Do you ever argue with your husband? What about yell at your kids? I am sure it is rare. Unfortunately, I feel like I have been doing that all the time lately. =( My husband and I have two young children, plus he is in law school (something you can relate to). It is so hard sometimes! We are going to start going to counseling. How do you do it? How do you make your family life so perfect? What do you do to get you through those days when you just want to rip each other's hair out? Do you have those days?

God bless, and Merry Christmas!

~Frustrated

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Ah yes...make that TEN strips of BACON!

Melissa Lester said...

Dear Frustrated Friend,

I have been thinking about your comment all day long, praying that I would find the right words to respond. I will share a few thoughts with you here, and if you would like to continue our conversation in a less public way, you can e-mail me at melissalester@elmore.rr.com.

First of all, let me assure you that my life and family are not perfect. I do not want to even hint that I have life, marriage or motherhood completely figured out. I do strive daily to make life better for my loved ones, but just like you I go to bed replaying events of the day. I regret the times I raised my voice and the times I failed to speak. I grieve the precious family moments lost with the children grumbling and fighting. And I feel overwhelmed many days when I tuck the children into bed an hour late, knowing that a sinkful of dirty dishes and a laundry room full of clothes still need my attention before I can go to bed. And I wonder if I'll ever be the wife and mother I want to be.

You know who I'm talking about, right? Her home is always perfect -- tidy and clean and ready for company to drop by. Her children are always neatly dressed, wearing a smile and their good manners wherever they go. She is never too tired to go all out preparing meals for her family (which they receive with joyful appreciation); decorating her home; volunteering in her church, school and community; spending meaningful one-on-one time with each family member; and accomplishing it all under budget and with perfectly manicured nails. Oh, and of course, she never neglects her priorities of Bible study, prayer and exercise.

Now that's a woman I can admire! And you know what? That's the woman I am. In bits and pieces, anyway. Not all the time and not all at one time. But just like you I just do my best to get through the day. And that's all any of us can do. Some days I feel like I balance my responsibilities well, and other days, well, I feel like I fall flat. But I hope that in the end my family will know that I tried every day to put love into action.

Faith plays an important role in my life, and it is a relief to me to know that I don't have to be the perfect mother. I can't be the perfect anything. But I'm so thankful that my heavenly Father is perfect! And I know that He loves my children even more than I do. What comfort it gives me to know that they can never run so far as to move beyond His love. And if all I accomplish in life is to teach my children to follow Him, then I have accomplished the most important thing, and the rest will fall into place.

To address a few of your specific challenges, my heart goes out to you! This is a really stressful time in your life. Having a spouse in school can bring financial stress and added time pressures. Add to that the responsibilities of children and managing a household, and that could be a strain on any marriage! I'm sure for both of you there just seems too little of everything to go around sometimes.

I don't have easy answers for all of those challenges, but I know how valuable my church family has been in getting through the tough times. Especially having a few close friends whose husbands were also in school helped me when my husband was in law school. We all understood that money was tight, so we planned no- or low-cost outings. I didn't have children in those days, but I think you would benefit immeasurably from a friendship with another mother in your situation. If your children are young enough, you could meet at the park regularly to enjoy adult conversation while the children play.

As for your relationship with your husband during this time, I will keep that bond in my prayers. I hope that you will seek counseling to help you manage a difficult time in the relationship. If you would like more input from me, I can share some more thoughts with you via e-mail.

Thank you, friend, for sharing your thoughts with me today! One thing I love about blogging is the network of women it has opened to me. I love going through my days feeling the companionship and support of other mothers. And I hope that in sharing ideas here, I can make someone else's day a little better or a little easier. Because we all need a little loveliness to help us focus on our blessings!

Sincerely,
Melissa

Anonymous said...

Melissa,

Thank you so much. I read and re-read what you wrote several times because it put so much peace in my heart. I was touched by your thoughts on faith and how our Heavenly Father helps us from where we - from exhaustion or frustration or whathaveyou - leave off. I need to remember that. I am so appreciative of and touched by your willingness to help a complete stranger in a difficult time. =)

Thank you so much.

Merry Christmas!

Sincerely,

Hopeful =)

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