This year, for the very first time ever in my life, I made a gingerbread house. Actually, I made a graham cracker house, but you get the idea. I found and made the recipe for the icing that is like cement when it hardens, I purchased candy canes and gum drops and other candies and raided my cupboards for sprinkles and colored sugar crystals.
And I forced every other member of my family to do it with me. Forced family fun night.
For lots of years, we didn’t do stuff like this. Personally, I didn’t have the energy to force the work of it on myself. I knew I would be angry and frustrated and there would be tears. (I’m not Pinterest mom.) For me, that’s totally not worth it. But now my kids are entirely self-sufficient (they are 16, 15, 13, & 11) and I dropped all my standards for what would be good or acceptable. What they made was theirs. And I didn’t need to police it at all.
We had a fantastic time. We laughed, we made a huge mess and at the end, there were 6 creative, individual gingerbread houses covered in glitter and icing and candy.
But you know, this would have never worked in our family, even one year ago. Success, in this case, is a matter of timing.
Reflecting on it, making gingerbread houses this year is a lot like launching a writing career, or any new and different endeavor. Usually, success is a matter of timing (and a few other things, like persistence, skill, connections, etc).
So it goes in other things too: Success is usually a matter of timing. I actually finished my book 6 years ago. I put it on a shelf and let it sit. It wasn’t the right time. I couldn’t give it what it needed to be successful, my family demanded me full time, and I needed to grow in a number of ways.
But now, it’s closer to the right time. It’s time for me to consider my “next act.” I’m not scared to go out there a bit on my own. I’ve learned a few things along the way. I’m much more able to see and accept difficult emotions and situations. I’ve managed my own tough stories. So it’s time.
And I’m hoping what turns out of this whole thing is at least as fulfilling as making my very first gingerbread house.