Day 6 - There was a time when I would have re-shot these photos to eliminate those messy shadows, but frankly, there were shadows on Day 6 and you all get the gist. Earlier in the day, M had been really sad and I'd been pretty sad too. We'd agreed to a 5 minute sad party and then to move on and that mostly worked. My "fun" plan for the evening was for M and me to decorate the mantel together. Perhaps I should explain--- The prior two years in this house we've had some mantle decoration problems. The garland used to be very long, but also the lights frequently stopped working. Sometimes almost immediately after we hung them. Also, the stocking hooks I bought didn't work at all on this particular mantle so B hung them from the garland--which , while helpful and creative, probably caused some of the problems. Also, it wasn't really attached to the mantle... and there were a lot of glass things... So, yeah, there was a HUGE mantle decorations crash last year right before the Christmas Tea with LOTS of broken glass. We learned several valuable lessons and got to start afresh this year.
In any case, M is super artistic most days and trying to come up with a new mantle decoration idea sounded like a good time. I probably built it up too much in my head as she very much wasn't into it when the time came. She followed directions more or less, but wasn't really helping with the figuring out how to make it pretty part. I was frustrated because the experience wasn't what I'd hoped.
Then, as I"m trying to teach myself to do, I took a step back. I looked at the mantle and it is beautiful. It is probably the most beautiful one we've made and it would be even if it were just the garland with ornaments in it. Most of the other items are nutcrackers from her collection/my mom's collection. It is great. We were able to clear/put away all the other things we din't use and that helped the mental and visual space quite a bit. We also got some of the decorating boxes out of the house so it feels "slightly" less cluttered.... it is still cluttered.
After bedtime, I sat by the fire and enjoyed the glow of the garland and how beautiful my super cheap by delightfully glittery new ornaments look in the mix. I was reminded as I often am that frequently the process isn't as magical or perfect as we wanted or planned, but that doesn't mean the goal won't be achieved or the destination we do find won't be beautiful and special as we were dreaming of at the start. So, it wasn't my finest parenting day, but we made something beautiful together and we get to enjoy that beauty all season while the crankines fades away.
Oh and we did attach the garland to the mantle and Brent installed stocking hooks and the whole thing is hopefully a lot more safe--- but also involves a lot fewer glass items, just in case.