cultivate (kuhl - tuh - veyt)
v. 1) develop 2) nurture

graft (grahft)
n. 1) transplant 2) bud 3) union

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Great Pumpkin And Other Tribulations

Is it just me, or are things getting more complicated? I'm not talking about the "Life is hard now that I'm a responsible adult" kind of complications. I'm talking about trapping the simple in a web of expectations. Every major holiday reeks of it. 

And the "biggies" are upon us. Dun-dun-DUUUUUUUUUUUN!

Remember when carving pumpkins meant grabbing a sharpie marker, the biggest butcher knife in the drawer and praying to 7 lb. baby Jesus you wouldn't hit an artery? Now even the laid back carvers have a carving kit. Meanwhile, the die-hards are whipping up pumpkins with crackle finishes, bedazzling that baby, and dipping it in a homemade concoction to preserve it for a millennium. Never mind that it's sitting outside for days, slowly stewing to an unattractive, moldy, shrivel from the heat of whatever candle I can find in the junk closet drawer.  

As a kid, my parents didn't do the Elf on the Shelf, but I would bet my last dollar that if we had, that sucker would have stayed put. On. The. Shelf. But now that imp is expected to be all over the place, wasting toothpaste, leaving chocolate chip bowel movements on the kitchen counter, eating miniature doughnuts made out of Cheerioscoveredinicingwithsprinklesontop, what?!? Thank you Pinterest. There is a reason I can't be trusted to manage an Elf on the Shelf. By approximately December 3rd, I would resent his very presence and daily demand to be posed somewhere new and witty that no other kids' parents have thought of yet. I. Just. Can't. By Christmas it would escalate to the "death therapy" scene straight out of What About Bob. Maniacal laughter and all.*

We tout the virtues of simplicity, all the while piling more fancy-ness onto our paint-it-yourself pottery plate. And when I'm finished gorging on that course, I'm going to embellish my toilet paper with biodegradable embroidery floss.** Now (cleansing breath, folks), repeat after me: Pinterest is not the Devil. I promise my beef is not with a website. Scout's honor. Lots of magical ideas abound on the interwebs. However, along with genius crafts, there are unrealistic expectations lurking behind elaborate centerpieces and warm, fuzzy Advent activities (which, let's be honest, most kids would equate with torture worse than dentists or extra math homework, or dentists who prescribe extra math homework).

We are at risk of white-washing the beauty of true simplicity. 

If you want to throw your pumpkin in fishnet stockings or decoupage leaves on the thing, go for it. If you want to go at it with a hatchet, by all means, don't let me stop you.*** If we carve intricate details, let us simply enjoy the process of trying something new together. If it brings great delight to you and yours to create Elf on the Shelf mishaps, knock yourself out. If that rascally imp is misplaced by December 9th, just whatever. He needs a time-out anyway. 

Whatever your druthers, let the simple joy of the season be enough. This month, let the simple beauty of changing seasons be enough. Next month, let simple thankfulness be enough. In December, let a simple manger be Enough. Everything else is just the cherry on top; Enjoyable, but forgettable. After all, we don't order a hot fudge sundae just to score a maraschino cherry.****  


* For anyone who cares.
**First person to actually accomplish this and send me a picture gets a dollar. And bathroom cred. And bragging...rights...?
***You are, after all, the one holding a hatchet.
****If you do, yer doin' it wrong. And also, I'll be sitting next to you at all future all ice-cream socials.

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