This is how I feel these days:
Surrounded by festive cheer,
and yet distractedly staring off into the middle distance.
(She is really watching Super Why,
but go with me here.)
The Christmas season (Yes, purists, I know we are really in Advent) is beautiful and I want to give in to the magical moments that happen each day of it, but I find myself instead worried by lists of to-do. Presents for teachers. How much everything is costing. If our homemade gifts of jam and bread are going to be as ridiculous as they are starting to feel. That everyone we know seems to have a birthday in December and how to make them feel the specialness they deserve despite sharing a month with Jesus. The endless lists of holiday events, that too require a gift of some sort. Holiday sweater envy. Trying to create a balance of spiritual wonder and toy delight for my children. Dealing with all the Grandparent gifts that keep arriving and out-doing anything that Santa is intending to bring. Crafty-mom envy, which always flairs this time of year. Basically, the stress and to-dos are endless and I can't even zone out with It's a Wonderful Life and rum-laced eggnog because someone "borrowed" my copy like 8 years ago and Super Fetus can't handle the sauce. So, like an ostrich striking her head in the sand, I stand awkwardly near the tree and stare off into the middle distance. Or watch the Super Why where they talk about Halloween. I have no idea why this episode is playing on December 12th. I have no idea how we got to December 12th and nothing is done!!
I want to look like this:
Totally focused on the moment at hand,
surrounded by festive cheer.
Bright and alert and in the spirit of the season.
Even wearing red!
I am on Facebook. I see you Elf-on-the-Shelf moms with your crafty ways; making cookies and knitting stockings. I see that my mother was done Christmas shopping and wrapping the week before Halloween, when she stashed everything in my basement. I see the lights up and down my street, and the 4 blow-up scenes my neighbor is sporting this year. I see the Christmas specials on TV and the happy, festive family in the commercials where the mom isn't crying in the kitchen because her cranberry-orange bread bubbled over in the pan and is making the smoke detector go off. That mom never freaks out and threatens to cancel Christmas because she is tired and overwhelmed and just wants to hibernate until 2014. No, she is focused on the moment, surround by festive cheer, bright, alert, and wearing a beautiful red sweater she probably knit herself. I will never be her. I should just give up and go back to bed, right?
Or maybe I could just accept that I am awkward and human and not bathed in the flattering light of a commercial that was probably filmed in August somewhere in Hollywood. Maybe I could accept that I write really good Christmas cards, that might arrive on the 12th day of Christmas rather than December 1st. Maybe I could accept that I have had the Muppets Christmas album playing all week. Maybe I could accept the thoughtful birthday gifts that I have selected for my friends unlucky enough to share a birthday with the sensory-searing explosion that December is. Maybe I could accept that I have raised children who can visit Toys R US without demanding anything, without producing any major freak outs, and that Super K. picked thoughtful and loving gifts for all his (4!) friends unlucky enough to have December birthdays. I could accept that we made time to attend each party so they would feel special, no mean scheduling feat. I could accept that no, I did not knit their stockings out of reclaimed wool, but I did scored .99 stockings from Meijer and some felt stick-on letters and made personal ones that they are just as excited about. I could accept that I didn't lose it when the head fell off the 2nd wise man but calmly super-glued it back on. I could accept the Good Enough Christmas, rather than the fantasy Perfect Christmas that only exists in commercials that are trying to sell me premade cookie dough or giant-bow-decked cars.
I could look like this:
Dressed in some holiday-inappropriate shirt, but at least it is red.
Surrounded by festive cheer,
slightly distracted, but smiling a little.
Perhaps sipping some eggnog while I ponder my giant list of to-dos,
or perhaps pleased by the fact that someone got me a new copy of It's a Wonderful Life for Christmas.....
Just enjoying the Good Enough Christmas.
I really do need a copy of It's a Wonderful Life, people. 14 shopping days left....just saying.....maybe Sam Wainwright will buy it for me. Hee-Haw and Merry Christmas!