Couple the working with moving, and you have the formula for a frantic December. It amazes me that, every time Mr. E and I say our life can’t possibly get any busier, it does. Maybe we should start saying our life can’t possibly slow down any more. Maybe then, it would.
Anywho, I’ve been mourning Christmas. It hadn’t even happened yet, but I was already mourning my loss. I have not watched one Christmas movie this year. I’ve made no crafts. I looked at no lights. Okay, well, I looked at them as I rushed by, but I never took the time to really look at them. Except for the party house. I can't help but look at the party house in our neighborhood. It has a red and green disco light on the front porch. Party house! Woop-woop! (You have to say that when you drive by. It’s a rule.)
I really had not even shopped. I ordered almost everyone’s gift, except for my children’s, online, the day after Thanksgiving. I haven’t stepped foot in the mall this Christmas season (and I’m actually okay with that part).
As Christmas drew closer and closer, my mourning shifted into panic. On Monday of this week (that would be Christmas Adam, for those of you who are counting…. Christmas Adam, the day before Christmas Eve, because Adam did, indeed, come before Eve.), I went shopping. I drove around aimlessly, wondering what in the world to buy my children. I contemplated just going to the Hess station but figured they wanted more than beef jerky and a Coke for Christmas. (Some children are so demanding.)
At some point in the blur of the last few weeks, the Goose and I decorated my mother-in-law’s tree. Since we are living in her house, it was the nice thing to do. My plan was to set up our own tree in our bedroom so my various and sundry brightly colored ornaments would not mess up her nicely planned out color scheme. However, late last week, I admitted that a tree in our room wouldn’t happen. It think it was when I stubbed my toe on that box of housewares for the 70th time that I realized there was no room for a tree since we’ve yet to unpack a box. (Don’t judge us.) At that point, I convinced the Goose to just pick out a few of our favorite ornaments and put them on my mother-in-law’s tree. The Goose asked if I was going to help pick them out, and I said, “Do you honestly want me to?” Remembering the crying fits of Christmas past, she wisely said she would pick them herself. I teared up as I saw her even looking in the box. That box of ornaments is like an emotional enema for me. It just cleans out every tear I have stored up. (Okay, that was a gross analogy.)
Back to my point, I almost missed Christmas. On Christmas Adam, we worked until 2:30 in the morning. Then, on Christmas Eve, I got up at 7:30 to get to Wal-mart before the rest of humanity. I can only take so much humanity at one time, you know. I hit Wal-mart, 2 Publix stores and 1 Winn Dixie twice (Don’t ask). I got home and decided I’d better get the gift wrapping done. I had promised myself I would not be up past midnight on Christmas Eve wrapping gifts. (So, instead, I was up editing, but hey, I wasn’t wrapping.)
The Goose, bless her pea-pickin’ little heart, offered to wrap all the gifts for our relatives and friends. She totally wrapped Christmas for me. That left me with just the gifts for my kids. That still took a while, but I got ‘er done, thanks to the Goose.
I worked for a little while but then had to cook dinner. I was bound and determined to cook our traditional ham, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese Christmas Eve dinner. Normally, I would have other items with those three key dishes. This year, however, we just stuck to the basics. The Goose and I joked, since we didn’t even have vegetables, that we were making our own Christmas version of Fat Tuesday. (Fat Tuesday – nothing green is allowed.) I managed to throw some Pillsbury cookie dough onto a baking stone and bake some cookies. They weren’t homemade from scratch, but they were cookies.
Earlier in the day on Christmas Eve, I had begun to panic because I was afraid we would stick to no traditions, and I had no idea how I was going to get it all done. The Goose wanted to make her berry pie that she learned how to make in Young Chef’s Academy a few years ago. The Beetle wanted a chocolate meringue pie. Mr. E just wanted something to eat for dinner. I wanted the peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s kisses, and of course, I had to make sausage and cheese balls to take to my parents’ house on Christmas. As I thought about all the things I had to do, I had no idea how I would get it done. However, I decided panicking would not help, so I just got busy. I had an unexpected extra pair of hands this year as, apparently, my pre-teen girl has grown a conscience and realized her mama needs help. Without complaint, she eagerly, willingly and cheerfully helped with whatever I needed. The Beetle even got in the spirit of things and washed a few dishes. It was a Christmas miracle.
After dinner, we ate cookies. One of us ate way too many cookies. (I won’t name names, but Beetle, you know who you are…you’re the one with the stomachache.) Then, I decided everyone could help me make sausage balls. Gathered around the kitchen table, my kids laughed and joked with me as we made sausage balls (and some cubes…dare to be different) together. It was a beautiful moment. As I sat there, digesting my ham and macaroni and cheese and cookies, I realized I got to have Christmas. It was brief, but it was beautiful. It was a moment I will forever cherish until I lose my mind. (Then, I won’t remember it.) I realized as I looked at my kids that they are growing up. They are changing, and they need me less and less. However, as we sat there, laughing, talking and teasing, I also realized it was okay. I still got my Christmas.
And as I had these warm and wonderful thoughts about my kids, one called the other one an ugly name, and the bickering began. As quickly as it had started, my Christmas moment had ended just as quickly. But, at least, I got a moment.
I don’t know what Christmas Day will hold, but it doesn’t really matter. My holiday season rushed by, and I almost missed, but it stopped just long enough for me to take a breath and enjoy.
I hope you’ve taken a moment to breathe and enjoy. It will be over before we know it. Merry Christmas to you and yours! I hope, even if you only get 5 minutes of Christmas, they are a great 5 minutes! -Al