When we returned a few hours later, Vivi met me at the door with her arms crossed and a scowl on her face.
“Carlos ate the driveway.”
“Carlos ATE the DRIVEWAY.”
Grandma’s gingerbread village kit had been a huge success–until it turned from art project to “pile of frosting and candy sitting within arm’s reach of a little boy.”
G and I never saw the little house looking like this. See the colorful little candies that line the path to the front door. Carlos ate the driveway, like she said.
Each red gumdrop–“volcanos” as he had called them–that dotted the top of the roof? Gone.
I assured Vivi that she had done the same thing with our first gingerbread house, five years ago. I protected that thing from her as best I could and it still ended up with a looooot of white space. Every night after lights out, I would hear little feet sneaking into the dark dining room and nibbling the shingles off the roof.
Who WOULDN’T eat a pile of frosting and candy that was right there in front of you?
We’ve put the gingerbread village on the table, on the mantle, next to the Elf who’s supposed to be keeping an eye on things…no luck. Carlos doesn’t wait until lights out. He saunters through the den with a shed in hand, gnawing around the brittle snow on the roof to get to the one last green jawbreaker that’s wedged in there. And I don’t even bat an eye anymore. Even Vivi has given up complaining about it.
Making gingerbread houses–or traditions or homes or families. It’s not so much about the end product as it is about the joyful work we do together.
Learning to hold the walls together with a little sweetness and patience, just like Grandma taught you.
Letting kids get messy, even if it means cleaning sugar frosting off the windowsill, the bunkbed, a couple of rugs and somebody’s bangs.
Accepting that what we create isn’t going to look like the picture on the box.
Being kind to the brother who eats your driveway. Because you used to chew the roof yourself.