Of firestarters, toasted marshmallows and lessons

I’m not a big fan of barbeques.  It’s always too hot. There’s too much effort involved.  And I’m really quite a lazy slug.  So here’s the interesting bit: A couple of weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to organize a barbecue at our place.  Why wouldn’t it be?  And so we did.  For the WHOLE family.  His and mine.  Last weekend.   So yes, the year started with one of my harebrained ideas.

Here’s what I learnt that day:

Omg the weather!  Our weather is so freakin unpredictable that it makes it really hard to organize something outdoors.  The day started perfectly with glorious sunny blue skies.  And 2 hours before guests arrived, it started to pour.  And then the rain stopped and the sun started shining.  And as we began to set up the tablecloths and cutlery, dark clouds gathered and it started to rain again.  And then it stopped.  And as I stood there unsure of what to do next, raindrops started falling on my head.  Arrrrgh!  So I did the only thing I could do – I prayed real hard.  And hey, guess what started peeking out from the clouds? 🙂

Stuff happens.  When I suggested the barbecue, I imagined red and white checkered tablecloths on the picnic tables, colorful cutlery in pretty clear glasses, a perfect fire over the grill, meats roasting over the flame and iced tea.  I wanted a Martha Stewart barbecue.  But Murphy turned up.  My red and white tablecloths flapped wildly in the wind and in the end I gave up and took them off the tables.  And because of the strong wind, my cutlery had to sit in a roasting dish just so they wouldn’t be blown off the tables.  The chicken wings and meat which I ordered from the caterers arrived half-frozen.  Everyone spent the first half an hour waiting around politely for food.  And after we got a mean fire going, we discovered that we had run out of charcoal!  The Hubs and I ended up abandoning guests, and driving around to four different places before we managed to buy some.  Instead of just laughing it off and going with the flow because this was after all just a family cookout, I demanded perfection and found myself strung out and pretty much miserable the entire time.  When I was getting myself all worked up because the wind was messing up my table setup, The Hubs looked over and said, ‘hey, look how nicely our windmills are blowing’.

I really need to learn to see the windmills instead of the wind.  Stuff happens.  And a lot of it is beyond our control.  That’s life.

When you sweat the small stuff, you miss the bigger and more important things.  Because I was so hung up with my idea of what a perfect barbecue was supposed to be like, I missed this.  A wonderfully breezy evening, kids laughing and having fun, and the warm company of family.

Now that I seemed to have come off a little wiser, would I organize another barbecue?  Definitely.  But not so soon.  My back is still aching from all the running around 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Of firestarters, toasted marshmallows and lessons”

  1. I wanted to reply a long time ago, but for some reason, I can’t put comments on your blog from my phone.

    This looks like it turned out to be a great day and a great time with your family. My sister and I have talked about expectations before and how we both get these ideas in our heads about how some event or other is going to be *So Great*. And then that super expectation makes it *So Hard* to overcome the little things that go wrong. Which there are always little things that don’t go perfectly as we planned. We are both trying to take it easy on ourselves and on our wonderful plans. Relaxing and going with the flow – not expecting perfection – allows us to enjoy the good and the ridiculous aspects of whatever big event we’re having.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to come back to this post to comment 🙂 You’re right, when we expect perfect, even great wouldn’t be enough. And we become so hard on ourselves and every little thing that goes wrong is amplified a million times in our heads. I was pretty down after the event. And then when I talked to my dad the next morning, I realised how I had allowed the little things to color my entire experience. Which when you think about it, is so not worth it. But I also wonder if this is something that women do to themselves. When I shared this with female friends, all said they were guilty of this too. But when I talked to the men, most couldn’t get what the big deal was. LOL. Anyhoo, I’m trying to remind myself to let go of like you said, super expectations. It’s not just events, but everything else. This would allow us to enjoy life a little better 🙂

  3. Interesting —
    It maybe is a little bit (at least) of a gender thing.
    I could totally identify, I do this a lot (too much) — but men really really don’t, if we go by my husband and most men I know!
    Maybe we should take a leaf from the manly book???????

      1. It’s good to have you back 🙂 I love the Mindful Balance entry. It’s a wonderful reminder that as we rush about each day, willing everything to go perfectly according to our schedules and our plans, we forget let go and let God. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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