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December 10, 2014

Last weekend we built our first gingerbread house. We glued the four walls together with icing then added the roof allowing ample time for drying before we layered on the gum drops and candy canes and tiny candy pieces. It was agreed that Madison would be allowed full creative freedom in decorating this masterpiece, this house built of memories in the making for a tradition we anticipate maintaining for years to come.

She pointed with a chubby finger where she wanted the door to go and her mother outlined it in icing while she stuck the striped sticks on top. She pointed with that same tiny finger where she wanted the doorknob to be and her mother dotted it with icing while she stuck a purple piece of candy in place. We drew windows where she wanted and we filled them in with a random pattern of colored candy spheres and we drew a wreath doing the same with a gumdrop in the center.

Several pieces were dropped in the process and I kept reminding her to be careful because for every piece she dropped was one less piece we had to use on the actual house. She placed numerous yellow candies side by side and I encouraged her to mix it up so there was some sort of color variation throughout. She accidentally stuck her hand in the freshly squeezed icing her mother piped onto the roof and I lifted her wrist to avoid getting it all over the table and making a complete mess.

It was then her mother, my wife, reminded me to enjoy the moment. It was then I realized “full creative freedom” somehow became conditional and it was then I apologized while calming the internal struggle of controlling the situation, of the self-imposed OCD and the desire to make everything perfect. It was then I knew years from now when looking back at this moment, the dropped pieces and the smeared icing and the inconsistency would be what I smiled about the most… not the actual house. 

It was then I let go and enjoyed the process making sure there was plenty of candy leftover to eat once the house was completed. In the end, these little moments of living and learning and finding better versions of ourselves is what makes life so sweet.


  1. We make a gingerbread house every year. Sometimes they turn out great, sometimes they collapse (good "mortar" is key). But the ones that collapse will be the ones we remember. We can't share laughs over the times when everything went perfectly--our masterpieces, but we all recall with fondness our "disaterpieces."

    1. Yes! Exactly... a lesson I'm learning more and more as we go.


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