The holiday season often carries many meanings and cherished traditions. Naturally, we strive for these occasions to unfold just as we envision. We anticipate certain rituals, yearn for our children to share in our joy, and wish for everything to align perfectly. However, holding too tightly to these expectations can pave the way for frustration.

My own experience facing unexpected holiday events happened last year on Christmas eve during bone-chilling -10 degree weather. Our house was full of family when suddenly we realized it was getting colder and colder because our furnace decided to break. Our plans instantly had to change to adjust to this unexpected curveball. We couldn’t get a repair person to come right away so we collected several space heaters from friends and neighbors and huddled together in one room where we slept with our winter coats on. And even though it was a cold night to get through, the memory of it is full of unity and adventure. It served as a gentle reminder that sometimes the beauty lies not in the flawless execution of plans but in the bonds forged amid imperfections.

Rather than fixating solely on how we want events to unfold, we can think about how we wish to show up as parents in various scenarios. We can shift our focus to the quality of our interactions rather than fixating on specific outcomes.

Recognizing our own inclination towards rigidity concerning the “ideal” way things ought to happen is pivotal in parenting. When we are fixated, we may find it difficult to relish the moment in its raw authenticity. When we catch ourselves holding too tightly to specific ideals, it’s an invitation to pause and reassess what truly holds significance in that moment.

How can we embody our values, even in unexpected or difficult circumstances?

Parenthood constantly demands adaptability and resilience. It’s an unpredictable journey where curveballs are inevitable, challenging us to pivot and navigate unforeseen circumstances with grace. Ultimately, the holiday season, much like parenthood itself, is a mosaic of unpredictable moments. By letting go of our grip on stringent expectations and embracing the art of adaptability, we uncover the true magic—the ability to create cherished moments amidst the beautifully imperfect chaos.