Simultaneous realities II - The Kitchen

     The second snowstorm in three days has passed, and fortunately (for me) there is no ensuing snow day.  Andrew reminds me as I drop him off at school this morning that there are only three days left before Christmas vacation. The mild panic that rises motivates me, but where to begin?  I have a blog post to finish, assorted household chores (the never-ending kind), shopping still to do before the kids are around full-time, and -- ah yes -- a batch of shortbread to bake by 1:30. 
     By late morning I find myself standing in front of a 1954 Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, creaming butter and powdered sugar and vanilla, scraping and becoming frustrated by how it is sticking to the tines of the mixer and getting all over. I am just trying to get through this, my mind on the mess on the dining room table that I need to clear away, and who is going to pick up Anna. Everything is just totally disorganized, and on top of it all, any minute Meg's friend is going to walk in.
      And suddenly I see the whole scene differently. When Meg's friend walks in, she'll find a kitchen bright with sunshine and woodstove warm. She'll see a mom baking Christmas cookies in a comfortably disheveled kitchen, carols playing quietly in the background. This is... this is ideal! This is what the holidays, and family, and friends are all about! I'm doing it, and I didn't even see it. I had to get out of my head
     Two realities – the very same scene but different perceptions – exist right in my kitchen. And I have a choice (I always have a choice): be conscious in the present moment, non-judgmental, accepting, or live in my mind's unattainable construction of what should be. So here I am baking Christmas cookies for a dear friend, my happy family's chaos evident in its blessed abundance of laundry and advent calendars and clothes drying by the stove, and it is good. Very good.