|I love how Brynna is taking direction and Maren seems to be|
saying, "Oh no, this is my last bite of cookie! What shall I do?"
My first big family celebration is this weekend and I still haven't decided what to bring. At this point, I'm leaning toward chips and salsa to reduce my stress level (ever so slightly). I am still not totally done Christmas shopping, haven't figured out what Brynna's class is doing (if anything) and I haven't got my Christmas-time to do finalized.
I know that this seems like I am overcomplicating something fairly simple. And perhaps if I don't do these things, if I do take chips and salsa and I wrap most of my gifts on Christmas Eve and I finish up my shopping on my way home on the 23rd, and we don't do all of our holiday traditions, I'll still have a perfectly merry Christmas. I could believe that. I do tend to make things harder than they have to be.
I spent the weekend sick in bed, moving as little as possible, because almost all movement hurt. Also, despite the fact that I never seemed to run a fever, I took turns burning up and freezing to death. I spent most of that time alternately wrapped and unwrapped in blankets watching Christmas movies on TV. I love Christmas movies, even the really cheesy ones. I love how just putting Christmas in the title allows you to discount good acting, script writing and effects, as long as there is some schmaltzy ending where everything works out and everyone learns a lesson about the "true" meaning of Christmas. I put that in quotes because nearly all the movies disagree about the "true" meaning of Christmas.
In any case, one of these movies was the very formulaic plot of woman wishes for a new life, woman gets new life, woman wishes she hadn't wished for new life and has to jump through a bunch of crazy hoops to get real life back. I turned it off before the end because my kids came home and I wanted to pretend to feel better and talk to them, so maybe she ended up being stuck in her new life, miserable and without her husband and kids. Who knows?
In any case, the beginning has a voice over where she talks about how much she used to love Christmas and how she now hates it. She hates it because women, who are already supposed to be superheroes, managing home, kids and career while our husbands (many times, but not always) are lovable goofballs who need our constant direction. (And even when that's not the case, it's kind of assumed to be the case, isn't it? When was the last time you heard someone say, "Wow, their house is a mess, what is that man thinking, letting it get like that?" or "I can't believe they didn't bring anything for the bake sale. Doesn't he know how important this is for our school?") I've gone off on a tangent, but her point was that during Christmas, that intensifies. The volunteer commitments double, the kid commitments triple, and the family commitments quadruple. All the while, we're getting no slack at work, the house is still a mess and there are no groceries. (Or maybe that last part is just me.)
I found myself, even in my can't-stand-to-get-out-of-bed misery nodding sympathetically. I've never wished for a new life and I wouldn't wish away a single solitary holiday commitment. I am one of those crazy masochists that starts listening to Christmas music in November and looks forward to this time of year, starting in January. I love the extra time with family, the cute kid plays and recitals, the extra cookies and the constant smell of baking. It's worth it, it really is.
There is always a piece of me that wishes that my kids could possibly have a holiday memory of me where I'm not losing my mind, running around like a chicken with a disconnected spinal cord and fussing at every little thing left in the floor. (Not to mention the dirty footprints on my tree skirt. Seriously people, who is standing on my tree skirt at all, let alone in their shoes? This is why we never put out the good one anymore, because I don't trust you!) I try to relax, I really do, but I've got that to do list ticking away in my head, tick, tick, tick - what kind of cookies are you making for Santa? Tick, tick, tick - have we done the annual watching of It's a Wonderful Life? Tick, tick, tick - did we get presents for the teachers? Oh no, I don't think we got presents for the teachers? Oh crap, what can I get the teachers?!?
I'd like to promise to do better, but I won't. I will stress this stuff until I die, I know I will and I'll be the queen of Christmas at our house, until I'm the only one left in my house. And for the most part, I will enjoy every minute of it. But every year, there will be one day, like today, where I'll wonder what the hell I'm doing and why I'm doing it.