As a child, I always loved the holiday season. Everything about it was magical. There were snow days at my aunt and uncle’s beautiful farmhouse in Indiana, huge candy canes dipped in the snow at my grandma’s, wrapping paper-covered floors, a house filled with the smell of breakfast casserole, and most of all – almost all of my favorite people in one space for a moment in time. For those of us who are Clark Griswold at heart, it was everything.
As an adult, I want to love the holidays, I do. And I DO love being with family, and seeing the Christmas lights, and wrapping presents with big pretty bows, and listening to Christmas music while I bake (and eat) all the holiday things. And yet, every year I find myself feeling down around this time of year….and not just because I gain all the damn pounds.
In my head, I spent years picturing Marty and me staying up to bake cinnamon rolls and put together toys and stuff stockings while drinking wine and laughing and staring at one another with love and pride and excitement about what we pulled off for our babies. Except that this – every year – is a fake announcement. This is not at all the way it plays out, people. In fact, lots of years it was him watching tv while I baked by myself and grumbled around the kitchen full of wine and disappointment. (I should also mention that I never told him my vision of Christmas Eve because he should be a mind-reader damnit. Isn’t this obviously what all husbands dream of doing Christmas Eve?) In the end, Christmas morning is always a success, our babies are always happy, and I feel proud that we pulled of another year.
This Christmas, however, didn’t quite live up to #familygoals – so for those of you who felt a little down this holiday, I feel you. Here is a recap of my Christmas.
I started a new job at the beginning of December which didn’t leave much time to plan and do my usual online shopping. (Let’s just pretend I would have planned had I not gotten this job even though we all know this is a lie.) We also planned a trip to Texas the week before Christmas and got home the night before Christmas Eve, so there also wasn’t time for last minute shopping or preparation. Anyway… Marty and I decided instead of gifts, we would buy the girls a trip to the Bahamas for Spring Break. I was excited and feeling proud of myself that we opted for an experience with the girls instead of gifts AND that I stuck to this plan and did not buy them tons of other gifts.
Fast forward to Christmas Eve when my family all goes to church. Our children looked beautiful. I am glancing at them all in the pew behind me and am feeling full of nostalgia since the Christmas Eve service and the singing of Silent Night is something we all look forward to all year – it is a holiday staple. BUT this year’s service was so bad you can not even believe. Like you want to feel close to Jesus and catch all the Christmas feels but instead you feel like you are in an SNL skit and are praying God is too busy to listen to the current thoughts scrolling through your mind. You start tuning it out and trying to just say your own prayers. It’s this bad. It. Is. This. Bad.
We have an incredible dinner at my sister’s, and it is 10:00 by the time we get home. Carsyn has a terrible cold she picked up on our trip, so I am filling her with medicine and shuffling her off to bed. She is in bed for 45 minutes before I realize I forgot to let her put cookies out for Santa. WHO DOES THIS? And on their baby’s last year (most likely) to believe in the big man. So I am already self-loathing when I begin to stuff stockings and realize that I didn’t print out their trip certificate from Santa. And my effing printer is out of ink….so I am now texting my 15 year old niece to print the documents for me and put them on the porch for me to pick up. I get Camden up to drive me (since I drank wine all night), and then place the certificates in pretty little Santa boxes with relief. By then Marty is looking over the stockings and he feels like I didn’t buy enough – I can see it all over his face. He convinces me to unwrap one of Carsyn’s 3 gifts I bought from us (all of which were boring, FYI). This leads to me unwrapping one of Cam’s and hiding it because for the love, all things must be even. And by this time it is midnight, and I realize my dough for Christmas morning cinnamon rolls is not made. The dough takes 2 hours, ya’ll. I can’t just whip it up until 2 am. Without sleep, I literally cannot function without crying or yelling or crying. So at this point, let’s just say things are going exceptionally well.
Christmas morning arrives, and Marty didn’t sleep. He’s been up since dawn making the dough that I forgot. My baby charges down the stairs and is frantically looking around for gifts from Santa. Except there is nothing out. They do find their boxes with the trip certificate, and don’t get me wrong, there is excitement. But there is also quiet disappointment on Carsyn’s face that there are no new toys or gadgets to play with Christmas Day or tell friends and cousins about. She doesn’t say one word to complain, but I can tell she is trying not to cry. Oh and she is also trying to find the missing gift from under the tree – because we unwrapped that stupid thing without thinking about how ALL children count and look at their gifts under the tree. She is confused. Searching everywhere. Finally, she buries her face in kitty’s fur to give herself a minute to pull it together. At this point, I am crying. I am texting my sisters that I am a loser mom who has ruined Christmas on all levels. My children will be scarred. It will be remembered as the last Christmas anyone trusted Mama with planning. I did not even take more than a few photos because it just felt depressing. And before you all tell me Jesus is the reason for the season, I know this already. I do! And I know Christmas is not about the gifts. I know that the trip we bought them will be amazing, and we will all be so grateful for it. I know that most people cannot take their kids on trips like this, and I know that they are spoiled ass spoiled. I know deep down that I am ridiculous. I know. But I also know that there is something magical about seeing the excitement of Christmas on your babies’ faces. And this year, I felt like I really sucked.
There was one Christmas I will never forget when my own mom cried. I was old enough not to believe in Santa, but I was self-centered and spoiled and didn’t like what I got. And she was heartbroken, as any mother would likely be. I don’t think I realized until this year how crappy that must have felt for her (and how absolutely horrible I was to allow her to feel this). So now I have decided: karma will always catch up with us (may the odds be ever in our favor), and holidays are not meant to be perfect…but Mama should never again be trusted to do all the planning on her own.
Oh and if anyone wants to drink wine and make cinnamon rolls with me next year, I’m game. XO…M