I laid under my beloved Christmas tree tonight and cried for a half hour. I cried because my beautiful babies have put gifts under the tree for me. Because I haven't had the chance to wrap a single gift. They must think I have forgotten about them. I cried because I wrote a post earlier, that I didn't publish about how truly unhappy I am. How I wish there were sixty more days until Christmas instead of six. How I feel like a spoiled child and a deprived one at the same time. I laid under my beautiful and bright Christmas tree and cried, wept, balled for all the reasons I am sad, and all the reasons I'm a horrible person for being sad. All the reasons I'm blessed and should just be happy for those reasons. And all the reasons I just can't even breathe anymore.
I miss my old life. The crazy one. The one I felt was such a sacrifice at the time. I was so stupid and naive. I was so totally spoiled, ruined by my own privilege. I miss the school parties, I miss the scout meetings, I miss the diaper changes, the midnight feedings, I miss the little people holding out their hands for my hand. The only one they would have. I miss the days filled with ease and procrastination. The days that stretched into others, mulling into one big day, good or bad, happy or sad. My days now are a blur, of this, that, and the other. Days that have passed me so quickly I can't remember what I did last week, let alone last month.
This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, and I have cried for most of it. But what am I really crying about? I have my children, in the crook of my arm. They are here, happy, healthy, spoiled. They are loving and happy to see me and clingy. Oh, so clingy. They have lists for Santa, presents for me, they have cookies to bake and eat, and stocking hung that will get filled. I have my husband who loves me anyway which is saying a lot these days. Actually is saying a lot for this year. And yet, here I am, under my tree, laptop in lap, crying and writing, and having every emotion this side of a holiday breakdown.
I've tried to explain to most people that I'm not unhappy with my life, I'm unhappy with the circumstance. You do anything for so long and it will eventually burn you out, it will eventually choke you. I feel like I'm on a hamster wheel. Running, running, running, to nowhere and everywhere. When I look in the mirror, when I look at my life right here, right now, I'm struggling with the circumstance alone. I'm simply struggling with the situation. The situation being that I cannot do all the things I would like. I can't even make a list to perhaps do some of them. I'm so overwhelmed by life and by responsibility that I literally can't even. And not in a funny "instagram" way, but in a very real, this is my life and what do I do next kind of way.
Last night we made gingerbread cookies for Caitlin's class party. And the girls started talking about how many days until Christmas, when I realized that in one week it would be Christmas Eve. When I told them that in one week we would be at Gigi's opening gifts, by voice broke. My eyes filled with tears, because as hard as I tried, I still feel I've missed almost the entire holiday season. Even though I've had Christmas coming out of my ears since October at work, I've missed the most important part, Christmas with my family.
The spoiled brat in me didn't want to create new traditions this year. I wanted everything to be the same, but I didn't even get the chance to start new traditions. Basically I just left the old ones. In the closet. On the shelf. In a forgotten box somewhere. We didn't craft much. We baked a couple of times. I made only three dozen tamales, on the fly, not nearly enough for my entire family, who asked for them. I tried to hold on to the old traditions, but sadly had to admit it just wasn't going to happen. I had to let them go, kiss them good-bye.
Many would say, just let this shit go. Just lump it along with all the other things that don't matter. But they do matter, to me. The crafting, the baking, the tamales, the photo books, the Elf on the Shelf, all of those things matter to me. All of those things have collectively broken my heart because I couldn't find a way to do them all. I could barely find the time to be mom, wife, assistant manager, et al.
It's six days until Christmas and I'm a hot mess. My heart is full of chaos and emotion, and still, I don't wish for Christmas to be over. I don't want it to come quickly. But it will. It is. It's on the fast approach to landing in my lap before I'm ready. Will all the Christmases be like this eventually? Because the girls are getting older, and I'm getting older? Was this what it was like for my mother? One year I was five, then ten, then fifteen, then thirty-six? I should ask her, but I'm afraid of the truth.
I feel so ruined and ungrateful. I feel like I have so many things to be thankful and grateful for. I feel like there are already so many Christmas blessing to be celebrated, even if a single gift doesn't get wrapped. Before I laid under the tree, I was laying with Mac in her bed. While she told me silly, made up stories about her day. While she whispered I love yous, I thought about all the things I was thankful for, all the things that are truly blessings.
Little hands to hold, when they are sticky and sweaty.
Cold noses at school drop off.
Silly jokes told again and again.
Washing Caitlin's hair and then braiding it before bed.
Making cookies, even the big ones, made with warm dough, too many sprinkles, and
have the burned edges no one will eat.
have the burned edges no one will eat.
Sitting on the couch watching whatever Christmas special is on.
When they whisper I love you.
The "gifts" under the tree.
The stories they tell each other.
The way my husband covers me with the blanket when he comes to bed.
The texts from him that make me laugh.
The light of the Christmas tree I just had to have, that allows me to type this now.
The quiet in this moment as I reflect on this almost wonderful time of the year.