When you’re in the thick of minute-by-minute parenting and corralling little kids, there’s always that one sage parenting veteran who observes, “You’ll miss this one day.” And usually your first impulse (which you resist with all your might) is to punch that person in the face.
I am now that person, missing the crazy of Advent with 3 kids who enjoyed their Advent wreath a little TOO much.
It’s easy to tell that whoever thought it was a good idea to observe Advent by putting candles on the table, in the reach of children, never had children themselves. Year after year after year I threaten to toss the regular candles in favor of the battery-operated variety, because in my house, Advent is where table manners and fire collide.
At my Advent table, you’re likely to hear:
- “Where are the matches? These candle lighters are for WIMPS.”
- “Finish chewing your food before blowing out the candle.”
- “Stop warming your food over the Advent candle!” / “Awesome! It really toasted the bread!”
- “I like to put the candle out with my spit.”
- “I wonder if I can sneeze the candles out tonight.”
- “No spitting on the Advent Wreath!”
And once in a while, you’re likely to see this:
The newest Candle Game involves sitting in your seat without leaning forward and blowing as hard as you can to extinguish as many candles as possible. Each person gets one chance, then it’s the next person’s turn. Asthmatics are definitely at a disadvantage in this game. (Ask me how I know).
If you need some tips for keeping a relatively-safe Advent (fire and all) with kids underfoot, I’ve got you covered.
But clearly, I didn’t miss my calling as an instructor in Charm School.
A very wise woman from my parish (and the Secular Franciscans) who was herself the mom of 6, once told me I shouldn’t worry when stuff like this happened. “At least you know they’re normal,” she reminded me. Martha was one of those people who could find humor in any situation. And that’s what gets me through Advent, year after year after year.