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We didn’t do anything last weekend. Now, midway through the week, dog hair still covers the rugs. Laundry is piled on the kitchen counter. A wine stain lingers, red and recriminating, on a glass coffee table.

We wonder sometimes about the taunt of a messy house. Like a nagging relative, it reminds us of all our imperfections. Other people manage to keep theirs up, so what’s wrong with us?

As the holidays descend, the pressure to be perfect mounts. Dirty dishes and unmade beds make us doubt ourselves. Are the cookies baked for the party? Did the packages get out on time?

The other night, a friend dropped by unannounced. I was mortified. While my husband greeted the him at the door, I scurried to clear the table and take the garbage out. Then I opened a bottle of wine.

Laughter and conversation followed. No one noticed the mess. Instead, the house warmed with conversation and togetherness.

We’re a far cry from perfect. We fight sometimes. The house and cookies, packages and cards are just part of life.

It’s all messy.

Looking back on that night,I’m reminded that perfect is an ideal and not the reflection of a loving life.

Tonight, we wish you calm. If it’s crazy busy, the dishes can wait. Those who love you won’t mind.