Learning to love a lopsided tree

LOPSIDED: leaning to one side; lacking in balance, symmetry, or proportion; disproportionately heavy on one side

In my perfect world, things are tidy.  Straight.  Evenly spaced.  Symmetrical.  Labeled.  With typed labels.  In a consistent font.  Preferably san serif.

But, I live in the real world – with children.  So, my neurotic nirvana remains mostly out of reach.  Sure, the kids’ toy bins are labeled and I re-arrange my canning jars when one shelf gets so empty that it throws off the balance of the pantry…but mostly I have learned to live lopsided.  The hamper has too many clothes; the closet too few.  The floor has heaps of toys while my carefully labeled all-the-same-size-and-lid-color totes sit empty.  There are books on the tables and dishes on the shelves.

Every year in December the voices in my head do battle.  In one corner: Joyful.  Gloved up and ready for a fight in the other corner: Just Right.  Can I let the kids help decorate the tree and fireplace?  Without me assigning the precise placement of each ornament?  Or, do I squash their enthusiasm and eagerness with too much direction?  Can I accept the adorable ceramic stockings dangling from a less than ideal branch that Son deemed “perfect”?  Can I allow Daughter to hang three balls of the same size and color in the same quadrant of the tree while grinning from ear to ear?  Can I embrace the Star Wars ship that I can never remember the name of in a place of honor on the mantel?

I am proud to say that this year I was able to answer “yes” a record number of times.  Sure, I reviewed “guiding principles” for decorating the tree and assigned Nonna as Daughter’s shadow to re-direct any truly atrocious choices.  But, Just Right took a sound licking and Joyful emerged victorious.

And, in the end the tree is perfect…when you view it from our front door.  With your head tilted slightly to the left.


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