Thursday, December 6, 2007

Doomed to repeat the sins of our mothers, uncles, whatever

The other day, as Emma and Gabe were adding something to our Nativity Advent Calendar (we have 4) I overheard this, through gritted teeth and with slitted eyes: "Ga-abe, you moved it!" Something in the ordering of the objects in the pockets, or on the scene, had been moved, and not to Emma's liking.

It took me back...

(Jessica 13, Matt 12 and Nate--with gold nose ring--5. Obviously the Three Wise Men, duh.)
When I was growing up, we had an advent calendar. It was a big felt Christmas tree, with 24 spots for the paper pictures that my mom had backed with felt and Velcro. Each night, as we put up the day's piece, my mom would read from a book that she had gotten with the original paper advent calendar. It would describe the meaning of each picture. There was an angel, a star, a donkey, all the usual pieces. The first day was a picture of swirly smoky darkness--symbolizing the darkness in the world before Christ was born. And this is where it all could go very wrong.

If this was the year that Matt (child #2, after me) went first...he would put the darkness at the top of the tree!!! Can you imagine anything so wrong?! I was able to appropriately influence the younger children and explain the sense in placing the darkness near the bottom, so that the star could be at the top, but Matt lived to irritate me. He would also not place the angel near the top--angels fly, right?so they need to be in the air-- and sometimes, ALMOST worse than the tree-topping darkness, he would not place the Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus at the central place above the trunk. Slight blasphemy, no? I would carefully count which child would be in charge of which day and try to arrange the rotation so Matt would not have control over pivotal pictures, but sometimes he would sneak and change them. It made me so mad.

The following picture, I'm happy to say, shows the advent calendar in correct placement. It also shows me, circa 1988 wearing my awesome new Christmas sweater, tight jeans and big bangs (you're welcome).


So, when I heard Emma's frustration, I was amused and sympathetic, but didn't become involved. This is a battle she needs to fight on her own. I still have to squelch the need to "fix" the advent calendars, when I notice a camel in the little drummer boy's place, but I seem to have passed the torch.
And, Matt, should you ever come at Christmas time...stay away from my star. And Gabe. He's obviously doing just fine on his own.

27 comments:

John Holly Levi & Faith said...

I love the look on your face in the three wise men picture. It's priceless.

This post makes me want an advent calendar. But it's not the same unless it's home made right? I think I need one and NOW.

Penny said...

Isn't it funny (and scary) the little OCD things that we pass onto our kids? I don't know... is it genetics or environment? When our moms say, "I hope you get a kid just like you.", I guess this is a part of what they mean.

And the picture of you with your brothers and of you with your new sweater, quite literally made my day. LOVE IT!

Ilene said...

Looking good in your Christmas sweater, by the way. You should wear your hair like that to church. I bet you would get a lot of compliments.

I did the same thing with my brothers and the advent calendar. Even now, I am trying to train Jackson to work his way UP the tree to where the star is placed at the top. I always insist that the star is placed last because it is Christmas Eve and having the star appear any time before would be, as you say, blasphemous.

Jacki said...

I am about 100% positive I would wear that outfit circa 1988 right now!

gab said...

Great photos and fun fun memories! What is it about Christmas traditions makes us kids again?

Brown Sugar said...

Jessica the pleasure is all on this side of the table. I loved the photos!! Allison and I had a similiar rivalry with the advent box that my mom had. but none of us ever had that great of bangs.

Tammy said...

Boy, Do I remember you looking like that. We all loved your big bangs!

AMY said...

Once a babe, always a babe. Did your jeans have zippers at the ankles. I had almost an IDENTICAL Christmas outfit/hairdo one year but my jeans had ankle zippers. And I think my bangs were a little taller than yours. My sweater had a little purple in it, too so I had matched my eyes to my sweater. So sweet.

Denae said...

I love hearing about sibling arguements... it takes me back to my growing up years and all of the silly fights. i love it! Also love your big bangs and oversized sweater!!

Carie said...

I am so glad I met you in college and not high school. I was definitely not cool enough to be your friend in high school (which is obvious by your oh-so-exactly-what-every-girl-dreamed-of hair.)

Kenny, Linsey and Caleb said...

Caleb has been trying to put up the star (for the 25th obviously) and Santa (for the 24th) since day one. I kind of feel bad telling him no, but seriously, some things just have to be done in order!

andrea said...

a little OCD never hurt anyone. in my opinion, it's what keeps the world running like the well-oiled machine that we OCD-ers intend it to be. imagine the mayhem if we just let things take their natural course? yikes.
i'm so proud of you for passing this trait on to your obviously brilliant daughter. she shows such sophistication for her young age. i think you should tease her bangs and aquanet them into place, and hold a special torch-passing ceremony. these are the moments holidays are made of.

Paige said...

All the pictures are fantastic. Our advent calender is missing a few so I have to keep taking a few off the tree to fill the remaining holes in the pockets. Unfortunately none of us are OCD, so no one freakin' cares. OCD gets a lot of things accomplished and correct. Can I have some?

Thank you so much for the pictures. I'm proud to have known you then (well, Freshman year for you).

Jill said...

Funny you post about advent calendars...I don't even have ONE! BUT. Yesterday I ordered TWO cute one's that were sampled on Designmom. The gree house from Target and the cute stocking from etsy. I am so excited to have advent calendars now!!!! Bring on the fighting :)

Ellie said...

Wow, you look h-o-t! I hope you kept those jeans.

Do you have one of those things that keeps your t-shirt pulled over to the bottom side so cute? Maybe you just liked the side knot better? Please reveal.

John, Sal, Maddy, and Stockton said...

What a babe!!! Jessica you crack me up :)

Celia Fae said...

Have you aged at all? Not right.

The thing about the Jesus at the trunk is hilarious. I would totally screw stuff up so OCD Paige would be mad. You were born to be tormented.

Karen said...

I love this post. One, because I myself am a bit OCD about how we put the things up on our advent calendar (but not as bad as dh, who has to move stuff out to the edges so there's room for everything...our kids don't stand a chance). And 2 because I'm a total sucker for some totally awesome 80's pictures. You were looking good.

Lauren said...

Now that I am out of hiding, I can comment!!!
You look so beautiful...even with big bangs. I am 37 so I remember the big hair days fondly! I could feather my hair back in middle school like NOBODY'S buisness!
Thank you for your comments on my blog! I am drunk with delight! Thanks for not issuing a restraining order, either!
I will post a picture of myself...I am just vain because I have gained a lot of weight.. so I am usually anit-having my picture taken. I know, vain...

Bridget said...

That is so funny. I think the memories of sibling fighting is as fond as the pleasant times together as siblings.

Love the 80's flashback with your outfit. It's like, so rad.

Paige said...

I have forbidden Nori from commenting on your blog ever again. I don't get the clap reference at all. Is she trying to be funny? Really, STDs are no laughing matter. Unless your enemy has one. Ha ha.

Stie: My Favorite Things said...

You were one hot chick. Love the baggy, long sweater and the oh-so-stylish perm. We have all been there, and we are all glad those days have gone. I, too, celebrate your OCDness. Stuff like that would drive me batty.

crystal said...

My absolute favorite part of this post is your 80's outfit! I think I had one just like it. (found you from Stie's blog)

Lisa-Marie said...

Geess what? I was Christmas shopping yesterday and saw a sweater JUST like that at Old navy!! Hope you kept it. You'll be stylin!

Rochelleht said...

I love 1988.

Erika said...

you're awesome - I wish I knew you in the 80's

Adrianne said...

I am laughing out loud.