This year, I said, I’m going to get my act together. We are going to celebrate the feast of St. Michael. We are going to eat a roasted animal and some kind of apple dessert. We are going to pray and damn it, there will be at least one angel craft. Never mind a few small facts: I have three children under age 4. Two-thirds of my children are infants. We are trying to get our house ready for the market. Did I mention I have twin infants? Ah well. Away we go.
This morning I woke up, my face set like flint, intent on creating a memorable family feast day celebration. I think it was memorable, in that, we will surely not forget it. I know I won’t. Because for me, it represented a change. In years past, feast days have crept up on me and rather than scrambling to throw something together, I do nothing. Because if it isn’t perfect, I don’t even want to try. Sound familiar? Maybe you too suffer from perfectionist paralysis, as I like to call it. All-or-nothing syndrome? If your family celebration doesn’t look like something from a magazine or one of those blogs (you know the ones I mean…they’re amazing and make you feel either uplifted or depressed depending on what day you read them), then why even bother?
Surely, surely we believe in a God who is only pleased with perfection, right? Surely we are judged on our final product and how impressive it is, not the love which we put into it, right? Or maybe not?
What the hell, I says, let’s just give it our best shot and see how it goes.
It started with a chicken and some apples.
The apples came home with Maggie from her school trip to the orchard. The butternut squash from our backyard. The chicken from a (somewhat) local farm. Our little harvest, ready to be made a feast.
I used the Casserole roasted chicken recipe from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking“. Much butter. Many delicious. In between two loads of laundry, two runs of the dishwasher, and naps/playtime/meals, I somehow (thanks, St. Michael!) managed to get a chicken roasted and make apple crisp. Was it perfect? Nope. I did not follow all of the steps. Julia, I love you girl, but I do not have fresh tarragon sitting around my house just waiting to be used. It wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t need to be. It was delicious.
Since we didn’t have any red wine on hand, we paired it (very nicely) with a hard apple cider from Oliver Winery.
Mary Cate and Charlie enjoyed a Michaelmas feast of Cheerios, baby formula, and mashed squash. You know, all the traditional Michaelmas fare.
Excuse me…where is my hard cider?
Maggie ate every piece of meat on her chicken leg, asked for more, and ate 75% of her vegetables. This is basically a miracle itself.
Sometimes I put my toes on the table and wait to see who notices.
So yes, our feast looked more like a chaotic dinner with three noisy children and one (or more) of them may have talked all through prayer. Yes, the table scape was less better homes and gardens and more like this:
Nothing more attractive than a dad feeding his baby dinner
All of this may seem like not that big of a deal, but for me, to be content with a good enough dinner, and a clean enough table, and not demand perfection of myself or my family, is a big step.
And hey, Maggie even managed to make a guardian angel craft. It’s hanging next to her bed, to “protect her while she sleeps”, where she is indeed, sleeping as I type this.
All in all, a successful celebration of fall, family, food, and one of our family’s favorite saints. Archangels Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, pray for us!