I started out the holidays season by being way ahead of the game. By Thanksgiving, I had already completed 80% of my Christmas shopping-- without even leaving my home! The brown shipping boxes of goodies arrived at my door even before December. I felt so productive. I was conquering the holiday stress. I was winning.
Then, I swear, I was sucked into a time warp. The other day, I was regretting the fact that it was too early to bust out my Michael Buble Christmas album. Right as I was about to tuck it away into the CD holder in my car, I paused. Then I checked my phone calendar and was shocked to discover that December was nearly halfway over!
As the holiday season started looming near, I was so excited for everything. I couldn't wait to put up decorations and celebrate with the kids. I was so excited for Ryan's first Christmas. I couldn't wait to initiate him into all our customs and traditions.....But....Then December came and everything fell apart. I lost all ambition and energy as the days blew right by me and I fell exhausted into bed each night having just survived another day full of work, kids, cooking, chores, and commuting.
Eevrytime I set aside time to do something, without fail Jacob would act extra ornery, Ryan would decide he didn't want to nap, and my husband would be busy with other chores. I simply couldn't muster up neither the energy or the excitement to carry the whole family.
That was the worst part. These fun things I had been eagerly looking forward to began to feel like chores. I was dreading them. One evening, as I pulled into the house at 6:30 with the kids, I actually managed to drag the Christmas lights up from the basement. I plugged in the lights and discovered that only 1/3 of them worked. I found one measley strand that would fully light. The thought of having to sort through each bulb to find the burned-out culprit quickly deflated any energy I initially had. As a result, there was only one measly strand of lights up on our house for two weeks.
One night, I got everything together to decorate a gingerbread house with Jacob. I, myself, have such fond memories of doing this with my own siblings. I was very excited to share the experience with Jacob. Except, by the time we got home (7pm) I was exhausted (as usual), Ryan was cranky and ready for bed, and Jacob was having his end-of-day "special moment." The gingerbread house eventually was decorated, but it wasn't the fun, joy-filled experience that I had hoped for. I'm pretty sure I yelled at Jacobs fifteen times.
Then the tree....oh the tree. We had initially planned on getting a tree early in December. That plan went out the window when I nearly totalled our car in a car collision. As a result, the only car that could actually transport a tree was suddenly of commission (and still is). Having to borrow someone else's vehicle was just another step to add to the stress and just another factor that turned this into a chore. I finally gave up on our traditional plan of going as a family to a tree farm and cutting down our own tree (a tradition that has been running for every Christmas that I can remember). I finally just threw my expectations out the window and sent my husband to the freaking hardward store to buy a pre-cut tree.
Not too bad, looks pretty sad in person though
Finally, every year we look forward to planning a family Christmas photo for our Christmas cards. We usually try to do something unusual, quirky, or funny. Much thought and a lot of debate go into these cards as we plan them out. This year, we had planned something awesome and elaborate. But as Christmas drew near, getting all the pieces to fit seemed more and more daunting. One day, I decided I didn't want to think about it anymore. This whole Christmas was going terribly far-afield. What's one more thing. I took the kids outside and snapped some imprompty pictures just of them. The cards turned out cute and I'm trying not to dwell on the fact that my husband and I are not in them and that they aren't the elaborate cards we had schemed.
Dear children, I present to you....a mediocre Christmas holiday season. Ryan, please forgive me for the fact that your first Christmas tree came from a hardward store. And that your stocking has the initial "M" on it because I made it last year when I thought I was going to name you Marcus. Please forgive me that your first Christmas ornament has a picture of you crying on Santa's lap. Please forgive me that you were being ignored and eating Cheerios off the kitchen floor as Jacob and I had a yelling match while decorating the gingerbread house. Pleasef forgive me that you ate a pine needle and a piece of catfood while I was trying to decorate the tree.
Dear Jacob,....I'm sorry I keep threatening to call Santa and cancel Christmas each time you throw a plush toy at Ryan. I'm sorry that I yell at you the first time rather than the fifth time you defiantly ignore me. Thank you for yelling, "I'm kissing my balls!" at my work Christmas party (for the record, he was talking about his bouncey balls) and licking the mouths of all the wine bottles (mostly, I'm just terrified that my boss caught him before I did). Sorry that I am not more patient. Sorry that I use up most of my patience dealing with toddlerish attorneys.
Hopefully, as Christmas arrives, we will be able to slow down and focus more on what really matters.