So for weeks now, my children have been asking to decorate with lights. Last week we got to the stage of pulling the lights out of boxes and testing them. Today temperatures reached the 50s. I knew it would be now or never that we pursue the whole decorating-with-lights thing. So this morning, we finished testing all the lights, and I picked out one survivor: an innocent enough looking string of white lights. I announced that either we could have a simple string of lights hanging somewhere on the porch, or we could make a very simple shape with it.
Maybe you are picking up a vibe here. Truth be told, I hate decorating. I have no talent for crafty things or pretty decorations, and I have even less interest in same. I would be fired on my first day as a preschool teacher. I just hate crafts.
My daughter wanted the lights to become a snowflake; my son wanted them to become Santa Claus. How do you expect this string of lights to turn into Santa Claus I barked, patience already dangerously thin. I offered that we could do either a bell or a star. We agreed upon a star.
Ok, so now I'm really snookered. I have a string of lights, and I've promised to turn it into a star. What was I thinking.
I am not a visual person. I cannot picture objects in my mind in a way that allows them to be reproduced in reality. So, I googled a picture of a star and called for cardboard. I had a rough idea of creating a star pattern and hanging lights on it. Only, it needed to be pretty big, so I would need to enlarge my template. This was getting ugly. I thought "protractor," and realized we haven't one (at hand at least). Then I thought "yardstick." Ditto. "Eraser." Ditto. What kind of a family doesn't have these basic tools laying around?!? I wondered. In the meantime, I told my son, "You know how much you like sitting down and doing multiplication problems? That's how much I like making crafts." I just don't. My mind does not work this way. Crafts and I are about as incongruous as a heavyweight wrestler in a tutu. This is not computing.
I'm thinking isosceles triangle, and trying to estimate the ratio of the straight lines in my template with the size of the chopped open cardboard box I'm working with. Patience is way gone. The careful geometric reproduction I've labored over comes out looking like a bloated spaceship.
What the heck, draw it freehand, I say, and in ten seconds it looks as decent as I can make it. I cut it out, and I think about why we bother with stars at Christmas time. Pontification to my children ensued: "You know, the star showed the wise men where to find Jesus. So, if we have a star, we are letting people know they can find Jesus here with us." My son laughed. "Yeah, right! They're not going to find Him sitting in our living room." "Maybe He'll be standing," I say, impatience making me feel sarcastic.
Later, as we added the lights, we all braced ourselves for the prospect of our craft looking ugly. "That's ok," I said out loud. "Sometimes that's pretty close to the way we make Jesus known, so at least it is realistic."
We finished it, and hung it in the hallway window so that elements wouldn't destroy it, but it would still be seen from outside. My son beamed from outside. "Mission accomplished!" he shouted. My daughter proclaimed it "so pretty."
Golly, was I glad to see my children's satisfied smiles. At one point during the conflagration, I had literally snarled at my son, "The only reason I'm doing this is that I love my children and I want them to be happy!!" As we finished up, he thanked me for my effort, despite hating doing it. "You're welcome" said I, feeling quite a need for a time-out to calm myself down.
And then there was the Jesse tree frame I made this morning as well...
Ok, I'll show you the pictures, and I give you permission to chuckle. Just don't do so audibly into my combox, please!
The Jesse Tree