This past Saturday we had rehearsal for the Christmas pageant, followed by a birthday party for a friend of Kate’s who has a December 26th birthday. At some point, I realized that I hadn’t ordered our picture Christmas cards yet so I frantically searched for a “virtual coupon” that would cut enough off of the price that I would feel less guilty paying extra for the “rush shipping.” We hurried home so I could get the girls asleep before my sister came over to be there while I ran to the airport to pick up Cooper and my husband who had taken a boys’ trip to Tennessee to visit family. We got home at ten.
The next morning we were up bright and early for the Christmas pageant. Between the early arrival and costume donning, followed by dropping off our obligatory edible contribution to the “Pageant Party,” and the obligatory eating of goodies that other tired parents had whipped together at the last minute, we were at church from 9 a.m. to noon. On the way home, we picked up a Christmas tree, came home and decorated it by a warm fire while giant snowflakes floated down from the sky. It was picturesque. Then we fed the kids a quick healthy snack and headed to a four p.m. Christmas party. We were home by 7:30, got the kids to bed and by that time, I was ready to fall over. I hadn’t done one bit of Christmas shopping, nor had I helped Kate work on the shirt she is supposed to decorate for the Secret Snowflake exchange her first grade class is having on Friday.
This morning, third grade Lauren was panicking because she had forgotten that she needed to write a little note for her Secret Snowflake exchange (notes or poems every day this week, with clues as to who their Secret Snowflake is, ending with a very small gift on Friday). There were no pens to be found–not one. (And why does every piece of white paper in this house have an unfinished piece of kid-art on it and more importantly, why I am looking for a pen when I am trying to pack lunches, get kids dressed, hair brushed and fed breakfast??) Suddenly Kate asked “Mommy, how many more days until Christmas break starts?” “Two weeks,” I told her.
As I continued to multi-task, silently cursing the extra holiday projects parents are given just before school lets out–thus leaving them with very little free-time not either filled with holiday-school-related-busy-work or worse, actual kids at home, it occurred to me that if winter break wasn’t for two more weeks, the Secret Snowflake projects were either A) not due this week or B) my brain had completely melted and I didn’t even know what week it was. Unfortunately, the answer was B. I looked at the calendar and literally gasped like someone had stuck me with the needle I apparently should have been using right that minute, to sew buttons on Kate’s t-shirt project.
“What’s wrong?” Lauren asked, obviously thinking I had sliced my thumb instead of the sandwich I had been making for her lunch. “Winter break starts on Friday! Christmas is next week!” I wanted to cry.
I love the holidays. I really do. As a kid, I started feeling the “Christmas spirit” as soon as the leaves started to change. I couldn’t get enough. I don’t mean that I was only looking forward to all of the gifts either. I really and truly loved the “feeling” I had—the coziness, the family time and the all of the extra fun activities that were going on. As a mother, though I still love the holiday season, I often feel like I am so busy trying to get everything done, I don’t ever have time to sit and “feel” the magic. This week, having three kids in school, I have three different holiday parties for which I need to bring in food, school related-holiday party crafts to finish, I have to send out the Christmas cards, and teacher gifts? I haven’t even given them a thought. I have a lot of Christmas shopping that still needs to be done. Next week, the kids will be out of school and I haven’t quite figured out how I am going to do Christmas shopping with them around. My sister, having perhaps wisely decided to skip out on the holiday madness, is going to Mexico with her husband and three boys. They’ve decided to make the time about “family’ and opt of out of the consumerism. I admit, I would hate to be “skipping Christmas” and yet, trying to find time to actually enjoy it is challenging.
So here’s to all the moms, who didn’t realize until they read this blog, that yes, winter break starts FRIDAY, and that you still need to bake 6 dozen cookies, attend multiple class parties, put money towards the teacher gifts and most of all, feel Merry while you are doing it! Break out your dreidles and your jingle bells because the countdown has begun–both Christmas and Hanukkah are here!