With nine days left until Christmas, I started to freak out a little. Let's talk about the glorification of busy, mkay? Let's see, last night I wrapped presents for two and a half hours. That was just what we bought for people. That didn't include a single gift for my kids. Today I finished wrapping family gifts, then finally got my Christmas cards in the mail, and then packaged Christmas themed SMORES for Caitlin's class. That didn't include the two loads of laundry that got washed (because really who folds anymore), the shirt I'm pretty sure I ruined because I forgot that it was dry clean only (it's from Old Navy, go figure), and the sorta meals I scrapped together. Tomorrow is our Girl Scout meeting and party, Wednesday is the school party (holla Room Mamas) plus a job interview, Thursday is Snack Shack duty (that's a blog post in itself), and Friday is Mac's school party. Not to mention Saturday's dance recital for both girls in both shows, and Sunday which will be spent with both sides of John's family for an early Christmas celebration. Are you tired, because I'm exhausted.
Again, let's talk about the glorification of busy.
Let's have a chat about my semi panic attack when I realized that the next seven days are packed, and it's just nine days until Santa. Let's talk about the untouched crafting supplies that will sit for another year because I just ran out of time. Let's talk about the salt dough ornaments that may or may not get made in the mess of life. Let's talk about the recipes and ornaments and holiday DIYs I've pinned for over a year now that will stay in my pin board as I horde more and more pins about Christmas.
Are you hyperventilating just reading that?
December is a month that can make or break a person, let alone a mother. Mothers everywhere are playing Santa, and elves and Rudolph all in an effort to pull off a Christmas that is better and bigger than last year. We are in a rush to do all the things. The garlands and the hoops and the cookies and the ornaments and the hand print reindeer antlers and the footprint trees. Days are spent writing to-do lists and checking them twice. Hours are spent trying to cram every last bit of holiday cheer into them.
Is it any wonder that most of us will drink our cares away on New Years Eve as a collective sigh of relief?
Advent calenders that didn't happen, an Elf that is living on the shelf this year, crafting supplies that mock me in their Michael's bag, have brought me to tears more than once. That overwhelming feeling of failure at not doing enough, trying enough, or finishing that last Pinterest project has sat on my chest. And there it would sit, if I hadn't took a moment to think.
When I was a kid, my mom worked. God Bless Saint Linda, the patron saint of mothers. She worked a full time job, drove me all over Monterey County for dance, and still managed to bake cookies, trim a tree like an employee at Bloomingdale's, and make Christmas seem magical. If you ask her how she did all this, she will tell you she was stressed to the max on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I had no idea. She made it seem flawless. My favorite Christmas memories are those of us shopping well after my bedtime, and McDonald's dinners in the car. At the time, she probably thought she was the worst mom in the world. But those are the bread and butter of my holiday memories. The ingredients of my Christmas Cheer.
My girls will have no idea that we didn't do all the things. That mommy really wanted to finish a scrapbook page a day for December. That she wanted to make more ornaments she saw on Pinterest. That she wanted to make five dozen different kinds of cookies just because they were red or green or gingerbread. They will never know that I bought two dollar advent calendars because it was easier than making one, or that the Elf on the Shelf has real rules that mommy can't follow. All they will know is that I served McDonald's enough times to have a tree covered in Build a Bear minis we turned into ornaments. They will only remember that I let them make things out of the wrapping paper scraps, and let them stay up late watching Home Alone because I was looking for that one present I hid in October and now cannot find.
December can be a list of requirements. Things you have to do. Places you have to go. December can overwhelm you or swallow you whole. December can blind you to what is really important this time of year. December can break your heart.
Or December can be a list of moments and experiences. Hot Chocolate on a school night. Popcorn eaten in bed. Movies well after bedtime. December can be lopsided gingerbread men and sugar cookies burned on the edges. December can be simple and extra ordinary at the same time.
Nine days left to enjoy the magic with little ones. To enjoy the company of family. To see friends that we don't see often enough. To wrap the last of the gifts. To make more cookies we will probably burn. To stay up way past our bedtimes watching Christmas movies or wrapping gifts. Nine days left to stop talking about how busy we are, and start enjoying everything this time of year has to offer. Nine days left and no requirements...