Sunday, 18 February 2018

C Columns

Notes from Home: 27 Kids and 1,380 Square Feet of Fun

By Dani Grigg

This past holiday season, as soon as my Pinterest feed started filling up with lovely little Christmas treats and crafts, I started feeling wistful, like I do every year.

This time, though, I guess it was early enough in the year and at a calm enough moment that my brain was free to come up with its best idea yet: a kids’ Christmas party.

I thought of the beautiful invitation I could make — it would be white! It would featurea gingerbread house! It would have those fanciful little colored dots of varying opacities fading in and out around the border! I would download a new font!

I thought of the whimsical decorations I would put up — lots of lights, lots of snowflakes, lots of nutcrackers — and the clever little treats I would make.

Oh, was it going to be beautiful. And wonderful. The kids would be thrilled. My home would be filled with joy and love.

As someone whose favorite app is Pinterest, this was SUCH a good idea.

I started work on the invitation right away. I got the dots just right. The new font was perfect.

Then I made a list of the children I wanted to invite. This was where I ran into trouble.

I love kids. Their excitement for life and their strange perspectives make me happy. My kids’ friends, my friends’ kids... I love them all and there were so many on my list. I was still going strong at 35 names before I realized I had a problem.

I should mention that my 1,380­-square­-foot house does not include a ballroom or a banquet hall.

I went to my husband with the dilemma. He said, “Yeah, that’s WAY too many.” I didn’t want to move it to a different venue where I’d have to set up and tear down the dayof, so I asked him how many he thought we could accommodate in our home. I already knew the answer.

ZERO.

Socializing is not a priority for my husband. We bought ourselves a hot tub for our 10­year wedding anniversary in 2016, and now that he’s got that, me, and our two sons, he has everything he needs in life.

He advised me that it would be crowded and miserable and that I would leave people out and they would be hurt.

These were some valid points. 

But I thought of the invitations and the decorations, the faces I love and the extra magic of Christmas. I explained how beautiful and wonderful it would be.

He smiled dubiously then again firmly told me it was not a good idea.

So I firmly told him that was all the input I needed on the subject and forged on ahead.

I painfully trimmed my list down to 24 kids, then let it inch back up to 27 (plus moms).I figured out how we could squeeze a third folding table for gingerbread house making into our living space and realized not everyone I invited would be able to come.

I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and sent out the invitations.

The replies came in.

Everyone I invited was excited to come.

I’ll jump straight to the ending: It was a beautiful, wonderful party filled with joy and love. We had to vault over a couch to get to the photo booth and a jingle bell toss game (atable was blocking the usual route) and it was too loud to play the carol­guessing game I’d planned, but every face there was a person my family loves. It was Christmassy and festive.

My husband lingered at work until he thought there was a good chance everyone might be gone.

This is one of the biggest differences between my husband and me. Some of the things that bring me joy bring him stress. And some of the things that bring him joy bring me boredom.

I’m learning to accept that he won’t share in my excitement about some things, and that I’ll need to seek that fulfillment elsewhere. I have to remind myself that’s O.K., and that’s why I have friends and kids and other family members. One person can’t be everything to me. (Just read Anna Karenina. It’s a recipe for disaster.)

But my husband is many things to me. He’s my comfort, my strength and my partner. Ihave no doubt he loves me. I have no doubt he loves the Savior, and his commitment to follow Him bolsters my own.

That’s why I know I made the right choice in marrying him, even when I’m building gingerbread houses and anticipating the joy of 27 kids at Christmas by myself.

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