Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tradition, Tradition!

Go ahead, sing it like Tevye: "Tradition, tradition!" Christmas at our house is plumb full of traditions, some of which we've let go with the move (for the best, I think, to simplify), but others that I've carried on from my childhood. Gingerbread houses are one of these traditions.

Unfortunately, this year, the tradition fell flat. Literally and figuratively. It was already a busy Monday--6 loads of laundry, a Costco run, a normal grocery store trip (both of which had to be orchestrated around Zelly's naps and kid pick-up/drop-off times), preschool, early out, arranged play dates, etc. etc. Then I couldn't find the candy I needed for the gingerbread house, so I had to make yet another trip to a different store. So by gingerbread-house-decorating time, I was exhausted.

And, like I tell the kids every year, baking the gingerbread house is kind of a guessing game. It's already brown, so you can't tell how done it is, and since it cooks in a jellyroll pan, you can't really tell how thick it is. So you pray that the final result is soft enough to eat but hard enough to hold up when decorated.  This was my first year in the 10 or so I've been making them that I failed miserably. I burned the gingerbread people and undercooked the gingerbread house. So, the roof caved in and the edges fell off. And the icing wasn't stiff enough, so the windows sagged down almost to the ground. Then the kids tried to eat their decorated people and just about broke their teeth. So they complained about it loudly and I got upset because I did my best and even made an extra trip to find the candy we needed and why were they complaining.
Oh, look! It has an overhanging roof!
After the overhangs fell off and with cracks in the rest of the roof--still hanging on!
So, Tevye tells us that they keep their balance in their town with traditions and that without tradition, their lives would be "as shaky as a fiddler on a roof." Often that's the case with us in the long run, I think. But sometimes, the trying to keep the traditions throws my day and therefore my psyche off balance. Monday I definitely ended the day as shaky as a fiddler on a roof. Or as shaky as the undercooked roof of a gingerbread house.

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