Every Christmas, those in my family who are 18 and over draw names from a hat for the annual gift exchange. Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. The truth is we all cheat based on ideas we’ve formulated throughout the year so that the gift giving process will be smooth and fun. This year, I drew/completely chose my Aunt Tracy, because I had an idea that was sure to wow.
Flashback to 2 months earlier.
I’m on Pinterest at 2 a.m. browsing craft ideas, going through my usual process of saving and skipping. DIY bookshelf? Save. DIY leather pants? Definitely SKIP. Suddenly I see it. A craft that is not only “doable” but perfect for a fun, personal gift. I look at the calendar: 11/28, I’m way ahead of the game.
Over the next couple weeks I shopped around looking for supplies, very conscious of the impending due date, yet lacking a stitch of worry for its steady approach. As with every December, this one was chock-full of events with family and friends and I found myself without a lot of time or energy to take on my “wow factor” project. At times I wondered if I should pursue a new idea, however these thoughts were always immediately squelched by daydreams of her unmatched adoration for the final product.
Flash forward to crunch time.
Suddenly I can count the days until Christmas on one hand and my project sits at only 30% complete. My calm confidence has become panic, and my daydreams have become nightmares. I picture myself handing her a tragic excuse for a gift. I see disappointment in her eyes and my family shaking their heads. I have to finish this, and it has to be perfect.
I reach out to my dad and explain the situation: project not done, Christmas soon, SOS, 911 please.
Thankfully he agreed to help and the next day I brought all of my materials into work, ready for after hour assembly.
“What exactly are we making again?”
“A personalized, Guess Who game board.”
(Remember this guy from your childhood?)
“Cool, let’s do it.”
So, after everyone had left, my dad and I spread out all our materials, took a seat, and dove straight into chaos.
After noticing early on that the materials I bought greatly differed from those displayed in the tutorial, we found ourselves having to get very creative. At one point my dad mcgyvered a hinge with a paper clip and some pliers, at another I almost super glued a wooden dowel to the floor. What started out as a quick assembly turned into a 4 hour long production of innovation and silent whimpers. And after some additional improvements made at home that night, as well as some clutch work put in my dad the next morning, the final product sat on the kitchen table, ready to be wrapped. Like any perfectionist, I could note a handful of improvements to be made but when we arrived at my Grandpa’s house Christmas morning, I knew it was time to let everything go.
Flash forward to the first rip into the shimmering paper.
My aunt cautiously tears away strips, slowly revealing my biggest stress of the holiday season. She flips the board upside down, awakening all the faces of her family members. She coos, laughs, and smiles at me wholeheartedly.
“I absolutely love it!”
That night, as I felt the last minutes of Christmas tick off the clock, I lay thinking about the past few weeks. About all the panic and dread. About when she tore off the paper and I saw nothing but love in her eyes. It was at that moment that I knew that even if the entire thing had fallen apart in her lap she still would have loved it. In that moment I had no worries about whether the gift was perfect or not. All I knew was that I was thankful to have a family I love so much, that inspires me to drive myself crazy in the hopes of making them smile, and I was thankful to have a family that loves me so much, that both embrace my imperfections wholeheartedly, and are there to help when my whole idea falls apart.
(The link for the tutorial I found is: http://www.almostmakesperfect.com/2015/01/07/diy-guess-who/)