Slow-Cooked Sentences

Behind the pageantry

Rachael Conlin Levy

Notes to self:

Do not confuse internal temperatures of roast beef and chicken or you will serve guests cardboard.

Do not begin,ย less than a week before Christmas, a homemade gift that requires days of sewing and the conscription of your children into embroidering and quilting. You will end up swearing like a sailor and you will not finish it in time.

Do not make fudge and peppermint bark and molasses crinkles and jam thumbprints. You will not be able to restrain yourself.

Wrap your gifts in red paper so when they finally arrive at their destination it will not appear as extreme tardiness, but rather that you have a jump start on Valentine’s Day.

Hope for a small and sick relative to throw up under the dining room table just as everyone sits down to eat, drawing attention away from the seven pounds of beef jerky you are serving as the main course.

Do not forget to count the number of gifts you give each of your children, else they burst into tears and accuse you of loving one more than the others.

Do not cut down any old pine tree from your yard and bring it into the house. Its sharp needles will force the children to wear gloves as they decorate its branches and it will conceal many small spiders that will spend the next weeks spinning webs around the ornaments.

Do not place your child’s tissue paper artwork near an open flame. It will ignite.

The reason you drink eggnog once a year is because it takes that long to forget that it is not that good.

And remember, if nothing else, that a perfectly imperfect holiday is one for the books.

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9 responses to “Behind the pageantry”

  1. Kyna says:

    Ah, and what a good holiday it was!

  2. kyndale says:

    You make me laugh! It all sounds so terribly perfect from my end but….I understand. You and your kids will never forget it! Just to tell you a funny story. Eli was counting his presents (right?!) and decided that he was going to slam one against his head because it was insanely bubble wrapped. The impact completely busted open his head. The Thursday before Christmas we spent three hours in urgent care getting stitches. ๐Ÿ™‚ I kept on telling him that he’s special because, among other things, he’s the only kid in the family to receive stitches so far. He didn’t really buy that one though!

    Happy New Year!
    Love, Kyndale

  3. Omigosh. This story, plus your friend’s story about the bubble wrapped gift, gave me a chuckle indeed, as a flow chart from each item is extending outwards as I recall our own cooking/giftgiving/decorating misadventures of years past…and the bonk on the head one follows on the heels of a stunt my own kid pulled recently that is now requiring the filling-out of paperwork as the insurance company seeks to pin the blame on some innocent third party.

    All in all it sounds like you had a memorable Christmas ๐Ÿ™‚ And be glad you only brought in spiders, I recall a story about a bat being transported indoors on a Christmas tree…

  4. Rachael says:

    Oh, Kyndale, what a hilarious story about poor Eli!

    Christina, a bat? I’m thanking my lucky stars that all we brought in were a bunch of baby spiders!

  5. Cheyenne Satica says:

    Hilarious! Loved this blog, it made me laugh so much!

  6. It seems you’ve learned a lot, and you’ve made me smile. Thank you for writing. I’ll be looking forward to more this coming year.

  7. anno says:

    oh, DO make fudge and peppermint bark and molasses crinkles and jam thumbprints and anything else you happen to think of along the way. Just make sure to invite me over to help lighten the load. Sounds wonderful, completely lovely. Well, maybe except for the artwork bursting into flame and the one child bursting into tears, convinced that you love the others more than him (am assuming this is one of your younger children). Loved this post! Thanks so much!

    Happy New Year!

  8. Beth says:

    Sounds like you need a day at the spa!
    Happy New Year!

  9. Heather says:

    Amen, Sister. I’m always so relieved when school restarts and we can get back to life that I can manage without disappointing everyone. I have come to prefer a Christmas skiing so all the emphasis on what is so special at home is gone. But there was no snow this year. Sigh.

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