Well, obviously, I’m not alone. There are four sleeping boys, a dog, two guinea pigs and a loudly snoring husband scattered amongst the east and west wings of my house . . . it’s been decades since I have been alone on anything resembling a regular basis. AND, I’m sure in a dozen years, I’ll be sitting here typing my 15,000th post about how lonely I am and how the boys never call me.
But, that is not what I’m talking about right now. This afternoon, I was thinking, I am surely not alone in handling how my own moods affect the entire family. For the most part, I’m kind of a roll-with-the-tide kind of person. It’s not really my nature, but it’s my life right now. And, every single December I face the fact that my nature and my life don’t always work well together. (Wasn’t last year’s tree purty?)
Every single December, I confront the perfectionist that lurks deep inside my soul and we battle until one of us gets sick or hides under the bed for a week. Usually I get sick or hide under the bed because the perfectionist inside of me would never do such an undignified thing. This year is no different, I guess. I woke up feeling stressed out … bills, we need groceries, laundry, teen boys with girlfriends, you get the picture. This is not that unusual for me. But, normally, by the time I have my shower and a Diet Coke, I sort things out in my head and start the day with a plan of attack.
Today, eh, not so much. For some reason, the angst and the dread just got worse and worse through the afternoon. Christmas is SO hard. I want to at least get everyone something they will like and be happy with AND that we can afford. This gets tricky with four kids who are no longer impressed with little people toys. BUT, the thing that is so crazy is that the boys don’t care. They have no huge expectations. They had a blast sitting with Mike last night debating which Christmas cookies to make this year – no small debate, mind you. Cookies are serious business here.
Yet, every year, I get worked up and agonize and stress myself out for no real reason. I remember being 15-16-17 – Christmas was fun but it wasn’t about presents. Mostly what I wanted was a good book and maybe a sweater. I don’t think my own kids are much different. And, still I agonize. And agonize. And I agonize (love that word) so much that I manage to put everyone else in the house in a bad mood too. So, then, I’m not only angsting about what might or might not happen, I’m dealing with a bunch of mean kids who do not even know why they’re being mean. Let’s just say today was a long day and I played a huge part in making it so long.
Luckily for all of us, everyone had somewhere to go this afternoon. Time apart is a good thing. A kid that can drive everyone to the place that makes us apart is even better. I made dinner, watched ELF while I cooked and left it for everyone to get for themselves and took a glorious nap. I felt much more sane when I got up – I made some lists and I’m going to stick to them and (unless we win the lottery) I’m just going to work on making the whole season fun and not focus on trying to make it all perfect and fulfill everyone’s dreams with the perfect gift.
And, if I can manage this, I think the rest of our December will go much more smoothly than today. We will have fun making cookies, walking around checking out Christmas lights, planning Mike’s birthday (the 11th) and our annual New Year’s Eve bash aka Ian and Tim’s 16th birthday aka Ian’s Monster Magic Show. That is the kind of stuff the boys will remember when they’re my age. Right? I really need a “Cher” kind of friend to show up here every morning to slap me and tell me to “Snap out of it.” Volunteers?
AM I alone with my mixed up priorities during the holidays? Will one of you buy us a lottery ticket? As much as we count on the lottery as our retirement plan, we really should start buying tickets.