Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Me

It all began when I thought I had forgotten my cell phone, woke Brielle up from her 10 minute nap, and realized I had really forgotten my Sam’s Club card…then proceeded to spend 5 minutes wailing about it in the car with Brielle smiling at me with a question in her eyes.
I realized I’ve changed.
Maybe it is what they say is a “season of life,” or maybe I’m different for good. I won’t know until years from now if I will resort back to my former ways or if some of these new things will stick around.
Regardless, as I rolled away from the Sam’s Club parking lot, kicking myself for believing everything was working out so well only an hour before, I thought about how I might have used to react. I think I would have rolled with the situation and deemed it simply “not meant to be” for that day. But I was really upset that it was not going how I’d planned! I was not in the Christmas spirit. In fact…as I started noticing more and more…I was acting completely different from previous Christmases. Here are some of the examples I’ve mentally noted recently:
Christmas wrapping: The former Holiday Me would meticulously choose just the right wrapping paper for the person the gift was intended. This years’ ME grabs the nearest wrapping paper and whatever presents that can be wrapped from that same cut. And scissors? well, ripping seems to work just as effectively. The old Holiday Me would cut off excess paper on gifts just so that it didn’t look to stuffy with paper on the ends of the wrap. This year: that is what TAPE is for people! Who knew? And if the wrapping paper was a little short on a gift? Well…that’s fine for helping people to KNOW where to start their ripping, right? J
Sensible. I think I’m becoming more logical.
I’ve also redefined speed-wrapping. It’s not surprising considering I have 2.5 minutes of free time before my 12mo-old either 1)fusses to be let out of her crib, or 2) walks over and SITS right on top of the present and wrapping paper, or 3) rips out all of the tape. Name tags? The old Holiday Me would pick out the perfect one for the present, one that matches both the gift and the receivers’ personality. This years’ Me: stick it on as fast as possible, don’t even look at it, write the name, and if the pen doesn’t work: engraving will.
I realized on December 13th that I hadn’t even made a Christmas card list! Last year I think I had them sent out by then. Yes, that was the same time I had a newborn baby. Why did I set my own standard so high? continue to shake my head in amazement. I think I sent out anywhere from 50-60 cards. It was extremely time consuming, but worth it (?). This year I really only sent out 20 cards. Really. Just 20. I decided to send out to: people who had already thus sent us one, anyone who gave Brielle a birthday present (I enclosed a thank-you note within), or anyone who I thought we might receive a card from, the faithful ones. If you are reading this and did not get a card from us, it’s okay: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! There you go! It’s just as thoughtful! I’m thinking of you! I really am! I considered sending you a card, I wondered if you would send us one, decided you may not, and loved you just the same. I’m still sending you Holiday wishes! They are just from my heart and I knew you’d understand. I tried to get a picture of the three kids in front of the tree to put in those 20 cards, but that was just like asking all three of them to hold their breath while standing on their heads at the same time: crazy impossible! So, I went with the very last picture of the session, which I thought simply told the truth. It wasn’t perfect or even close. Brielle had just tried to give Tyler “love” and bumped her head into his. He was flinching in anticipation of her return while trying to smile for me as Will & I said, “Awwwww.”
It’s us. It’s them. It’s reality.

The annual baking party that I have with myself - where I bake several kind of cookies, desserts, and cakes and package variety baskets for teachers, friends, and neighbors? Well… you guessed it! Didn’t happen. I did bake Galette cookies for a Cookie Swap with MOPS, that felt like more than enough baking! The boys’ teacher got about 5 of the same cookie in a small bag, and not even a “Merry Christmas” attached. Neighbors and friends? I think a hearty “HAPPY HOLIDAY” wave will have to suffice this year.
Then there was the Christmas party I didn’t have. I LOVE having a Christmas party! They are so much fun! But everything within me resisted it this holiday season! I couldn’t figure it out, who was I becoming? When I told my sweet husband, he asked, “What are you doing instead? Because I know you have something else in mind.” I have to give him credit for knowing how I am! I had decided to host a Gingerbread House decorating party for the kids. It seemed simple enough, but when I found myself racing through the final house assemblies (done a day in advance) in order to get outside before darkness settled on that weird 68 degree day, I realized a deformed gingerbread house was not just going to be acceptable. NOT in the Christmas spirit!!!
The party was actually sweet, fun, and creative for all of the sweetest children in my life, and I was glad I had decided to do it. But as I assessed this new holiday ME, I realized that my days of doing these innovative projects were teetering on going extinct. Poor Brielle, if so.
I used to so be concerned about presents for the children too: size, equal number of gifts, costs about the same. I couldn’t even say how it turned out this year, as I’ve yet to do the calculations, but since we are just having a simple small Christmas….I think it worked equally in a round about way. Or maybe not. Oh well, I think everyone will be happy and that is all that matters.
While I would have loved to get Will all of the things he desires and he would have loved to do the same for me, I think we both agree that any extra funds around our house need to go towards medical bills or home repairs and projects that are running far past their allotted time frames (house painting?). In fact, if I really could ask for a gift of any kind, I’m sure that SIX HOURS of UNINTERUPTED sleep would be top on my list right now. But I don’t expect to find that wrapped an under our tree this year. So, I’m just hoping to settle for a quiet holiday, maybe some candlelight and wine, soft holiday music and peaceful spirit. That sounds like celebration summed up in a sentence for me.
So, in keeping with this year’s Holiday Me, I’ll not even reread this and fix all of my many mistakes, even though I know I typed years’ and it’s year’s many times above. OH WELL> I’ll let it drive us all crazy for awhile!!!
For now, I’m done with all things Christmas, except the anticipation I share with my children over the event of the year, the Christmas parties we’ll be attending this next week, and the dishes I’ll be making to bring with us. Other than that, I’m not stressing about all of the other things I wish I’d thought of to do, and the many things that I intended to do and never did get around to. I forgive myself. I’m over it. Okay, it will bother me a little, but it has become obvious to me that this year the New Holiday Me has had little choice but to: Change.


The Sugarplums said...

Don't be so hard on yourself! This year is undoubtly different from last year or the year before. And just to point out the obvious, caring for a toddler is difficult in ways a newborn is not. I think that you will go back to your old Christmas self again someday, because you enjoyed it. Maybe not next year or even the next, but probably when you have more time for yourself and to do the things you enjoy. You are just too spent this year. By the way, at least you put tags on your gifts, I just used a sharpie. What does that say about me? ; )

jenna said...

Hahaha: a sharpie! I didn't think I was actually being hard on myself, truthfully, I thought I was just making fun of myself. I'm fine with the one things are going this year, I just found many things paling in comparison to years past. :) But thanks for the encouragement!