And she's back!

As my house is still dripping with boughs of holly and Santa-hatted creatures of all shapes and sizes, it seems odd to say that the holidays are over, but since yesterday was Epiphany, I guess I'm going to have to face the fact that Christmas is once again 11-and-a-half months away. And while I'll miss the heightened goodwill and eggnog, a year-long wait might be just what I need right now, as I'm gonna' need a few months to get over a rather unpleasant, eye-opening yuletide revelation.

What was this jarring realization, you ask? Simply put, I am now a Mom, and Christmas (or any other holiday/occasion that requires a lot of preparation and effort) can really be rough on a Mom.

Between my posts here and on facebook, my longing for even a smidge of Christmas Spirit during the holiday buildup was well-documented (once again, sorry for the repetition). Happily, I can report that on Christmas Eve, when everything was done and the girls were blissfully covering their beautiful velvet dresses with cookie crumbs, the spirit finally took over and I ended up really enjoying the final week of 2009. But as I reflected on my not-so-merry countdown to December 25th--hoping to figure out how I could prevent the same thing from happening in the future--I, quite unexpectedly, had a full-on "I'm The Mom" revelation.

Of course, this wasn't my first Christmas as a Mom, but for Yuletide 2008, the girls were perfectly content to lounge on their play mats or sway in their swings while I decorated the tree, baked cookies and wrapped presents. This year, however, the girls were slightly more interactive, happily unrolling countless tubes of wrapping paper, tearing up Christmas cards to their hearts' content and de-decorating the tree every chance they got. And all of that was awesome--really! Some of my happiest memories of this Christmas are the visions of my sugarplums exploring, enjoying and dismantling everything the holiday had to offer. But the energy it took to keep up with my peanuts and prepare a festive celebration that met my grandiose expectations meant that I spent a lot of the season in a less-than-jolly frame of mind.

I know I'm not alone in this struggle--looking back on my childhood, I can remember lots of special occasions when my mom ran around like a chicken with her head cut off, trying to ensure that everything was perfect and everyone was happy. She'd finally have a chance to sit down and let out a sigh of relief during the event in question--be it a birthday, holiday or dinner party--only to be up and running shortly thereafter, cleaning up and putting the compulsory party paraphernalia away. If I haven't said it recently, Wizard, thank you for being the best mom ever! :-)

Judging from the facebook status updates posted the week of December 21st, most of my friends were caught up in the same kind of holiday rigmarole, frantically trying to get one more batch of cookies baked, send out a few more Christmas cards, find the perfect gift for Uncle Mel, get the dog to the vet after it ate Grandma Rose's fruit cake, and so on. But as I've said before, I do not subscribe to the belief that misery loves company--I don't want my friends and family zipping around like decapitated poultry any more than I want myself to be.

So where does all this reflection and introspection get us? Do we pinky swear that we'll give ourselves a break when it comes to life's landmark occasions? That we'll focus more on the meaning of the event than on the menu and decorations? I know that's a gross oversimplification of life's realities--it's the rule rather than the exception that if Mom/Wife/Daughter/Sister doesn't take care of things, a lot of special moments would simply pass by unnoticed. I think for my own sanity and contentment, however, I'll try to take it a little easier at holiday time from now on. Maybe I'll switch to eChristmas cards next year, or cut back on the number of perfect stocking stuffers I want to find. And maybe, instead of waking up early on Sunday mornings to scour the newspaper for sale circulars, I'll wake up early and go to church--after all, personal enrichment is vastly preferable to the depletion of our bank account. :-) All it takes is a little self-awareness and a slight adjustment of expectations...

Speaking of expectations, has anyone been to recently? They've posted instructions on how to make your own candy jewels for Valentine's Day!!! They would look just beautiful on a from-scratch, four-tiered, fondant-enrobed Valentine's cake, don't you think? Now all I have to do is find the perfect cake recipe, buy the right pans, learn how to make fondant, watch a few episodes of Ace of Cakes, make the candy jewels and I'll be set!




The Bug said...

I don't know if you remember me (& my user name will NOT help) - but my name is Dana & I work with Julia. I was the witch at her Halloween party - and apparently the waterboy for your girls :)

Anyway, I dreamed about one of them last night - I think maybe it was Evie (she says as if she has ANY clue LOL). I was holding her at some gathering. Mostly we were just snuggling - it was nice. Now, as a person who chose not to have children, these types of dreams often send me into panic mode - no! I refuse to have maternal urges at this late date! But really I don't feel any more maternal when I wake up - I just like little kids. And then I like to give them back.

So thanks to (Evie?) for a warm & fuzzy moment!

Pat said...


We have found that, giving to others at Christmas brings us more joy than trying to make that "perfect day" - we have finally given up on that.
We might buy a goat, or chickens (or something along those lines) through World Vision - for a family or village in a third world country (sometimes on behalf of someone else - as his or her "gift" from us), or we might give clothes or food to the local mission/food bank, or maybe adopt a family and ive them much needed items and toys for the children. The ultimate gift we can receive is the joy that comes from giving to those in need.

And we've found that one of the best presents our kids have received... is the experience they get by helping others less fortunate than ourselves.

This past Christmas was no exception, and, in our December newsletter, Marilyn and I reminded everyone on our email list of the "opportunities" to help others.

Being a mom is tough - I've watched Marilyn in action and I get dizzy, or just downright exhausted!
Hang in there, it is worth every "warm and glowey" moment... (I know that real ladies don't "sweat" - they just get "warm and glowey").

Pat Weber -
Weber Farms...

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