Our tree is finally up. This is no small feat considering someone or everyone in this house has been sick for the last two weeks. Add to that the fact that I am a retail warrior, working almost every day, while listening to Mariah Carey slaughter every Christmas song you thought you liked. Then finally
coming home every day too overwhelmed and exhausted to decorate, bake, craft, or even think about Christmas. I had lofty goals to decorate my house and set up my tree Thanksgiving weekend. Go ahead, laugh, but it's good to have goals, even if they are lofty and totally unrealistic.
I knew that this Christmas would be different. You don't take a job in retail and have an honest thought that your Christmases will ever look the same. I told myself over and over, as summer turned to Fresno's excuse for fall, and as November first turned into November thirtieth that I would have to let go of those "holiday ideals". The ones that involved Pinterest and advents, and really inventive Elves on Shelves. I told myself, it will be okay, you'll have fun anyway, you can do this...
Then I realized that there were roughly twenty days before Christmas and I cried. I cried most of Thanksgiving week and some of this week too. Every time I saw their little faces notice the lights on the neighbors house, or realize that "so and so" had their tree up, heard them ask about our tree and the stuffed Rudolphs or for Buddy, I died a little inside.
I realize now that working mothers have been doing this dance for years. The slow waltz of balance and bullshit. What to let go of and what to do. Do you kill yourself day and night? Do you stay up to hand make the advent calendar filled with "events" you will never have time for? Do you squeeze in cookie decorating on a school night? Do you do your Christmas shopping on your lunch or online only? How do you enjoy this almost thirty day period between Thanksgiving and Christmas without crying over every broken candy cane?
I'm sure this sounds really stupid. I talked to my best friend about it and she was irate at the idea that I'm going to have a shitty Christmas in my mind because I can't "do all of the things". She reminded me that just because it's not hand made by me with my own blood, sweat, and tears, doesn't mean it's not the best I could offer my children. She wanted to know why I was so upset about the things I couldn't do this Holiday season. Why I was focusing on the crafts that I wouldn't get to, and the baking that wasn't going to happen ever? And until I sat down to write this post, I didn't really know either.
It occurs to me that the reason I'm fretting over Advents and Elves and Trees (Oh, My!), is because I want to do all of those things. I want to craft and bake and make my house "Pinterest worthy". Not because I need to share it and not because I want to be the queen of social media or Pinterest, but because it's what I want. I don't want perfection, I don't even want it all to match, but damn it, I really do want to make an effing reindeer heads out of wooden spoons! I want to dress my Elf on The Shelf up and have him do funny things like grab Barbie's boobs and put that shit on Instagram. I want to bake pins I pinned three years ago, because I've been meaning to bake that shit for three years.
And maybe that will happen, and maybe it won't. And maybe I'll have a great Christmas anyway.
In addition to my best friend reminding me that we (her and I) never had Advent Calendars or Elves on our Shelves, and look at us, we are fine; She also reminded me that all my kids want this Christmas is me. Me. Their mother. They just want me to be present, with no tears, or only tears of joy. They want my smile and my laughter. They want their mother to realize that they don't care about the Advent or the Elf or even the Charlie Brown Christmas special that I will forget to DVR. All they care about is having Mommy at Christmas.
So here I am, December fourth. My Christmas shopping isn't done. My Christmas cards are somewhere in transit. My tree is up, my Nativity is down, and all my decorations are still in the living room waiting on me. I'm pretty sure the Hubbs is giving me until tomorrow to remedy that shit. And yes Virginia, we have an Advent. It's from Trader Joe's. It was ninety nine cents, and by the Glory of the dear Lord himself, it has an activity on every tiny door to a chocolate, thereby making my life easier. Thank you Trader Joe's for understanding that the handmade, activity advent was never going to happen this year, and thank you for understanding that I didn't want to pay more than a dollar for twenty four chocolates.
It looks like I just might make it this Christmas. I just might enjoy myself. I'm going to take it one day at a time. I'm going to buy store bought when I can. And I'm going to be here, decorating or not decorating, baking or not baking, crafting or not crafting. Does it really matter? Will my kids really remember that year that mommy went back to work and didn't make ornaments out of pipe cleaners?
Probably not. The only thing they will remember is that Santa came through with that trip to Disneyland and those t-shirts fit for a snow queen. And I will remember the looks on their faces and that they in fact, still loved me anyway.
|Day 3 on the Trader Joe's advent: Family Picture|
This post was inspired by Lisa Jo Baker and her "There is no Advent Police".