Thanks be

It's hard to gauge exactly how many unreasonable expectations you're putting into the celebration of a holiday. And harder still to communicate those unreasonable expectations to the people who love you, namely your friends and family, who are the ones most likely to fulfill or (more likely) dash your unreasonable expectations on the hard rocks of holiday reality.

These white pumpkins represent the rocks of holiday reality.

So when I arrived at my parents' house on Thanksgiving, with intentions to create a few awe-inspiring tabletop centerpieces and bouquets for every surface, possibly hang some wreathy swags in the windows, and bring great floral joy to every last participant in our party-time, it became quickly apparent that my expectations had not been well communicated, to any of us. 

You have to understand that my mom is a consummate party-thrower. When I walked in the door, she'd already placed all the greens and flowers into vases, filled the tables with place settings, cooked all the food, and was vacuuming up trace invisible particles off the floor before the rest of our family descended.

Suddenly my daydreamy flower arranging fantasies were gone - there was no way I could take apart all the work she'd already done. So I lost my sh*t temporarily, transformed into a teenaged version of myself for about a half hour (was it longer, Mom? I'm sorry.) and then slowly entered back into our loud, food-filled, slightly buzzed, crowded party, accepting it for what it was as opposed to the quiet, leafy, centerpiece-centric event I'd anticipated.

Lesson learned, for now.

Since then, I've been house-sitting at my childhood home, and have been studying my mom's haphazard bouquets every morning while I drink coffee. They're packed full, and splaying outward, and tall and energetic. They're hard to photograph, because they weren't built for photographs. But there's something innately festive and exciting about them, something I can definitely learn from.