Yesterday we watched the sky expectantly, waiting and hoping for the promised snow to appear. My husband's evening gig was canceled early in the day in anticipation of the storm. But it never materialized. All of the waiting, expecting, and hoping amounted to nothing in the end.
As the day progressed, we were all feeling crabby and out of sorts. The lovely snowy afternoon spent putting up some of our decorations, listening to music, and drinking hot cocoa that I had been envisioning all week didn't happen. My husband took a nap, the children were otherwise occupied, and I was left thinking about my own expectations.
I was thinking about the things I do, the things we do in our family, during this season, and asking myself (in a moment of self pity) why we(I) even bother. I sullenly thought, "I'm the one doing all the work and I'm the only one who seems to care, anyway." And then, just as quickly, I realized that I do all of this for the same reason I do anything for my family. So that they will have a foundation when they are no longer in my nest. A foundation of faith, a foundation of family, a foundation of celebration, a foundation of seasonal rhythm and observance.
When I think about the human beings I hope that my children will be, and I consider the things I can do to help them grow into those people, it can seem remarkably intangible and definitely overwhelming. I realize I've opened the door onto a very big subject, one that I can't fully tackle here in this post. But I think the lesson from yesterday for me is that even the rituals that can sometimes feel like a lot of effort, when carefully and thoughtfully put into place, really make a huge difference, whether it seems obvious at the time or not.
In the end, we did all sit down to a supper of waffles, whipped cream, and fruit. We prayed together around our Advent wreath. The things that really mattered were there. Things are not always idyllic around here, and I do have to adjust my expectations. But I feel that the framework is here, and my family are all working and growing and thriving within it.