Monday, November 28, 2011
This Year I’ve Decided, No More Grinch (Seriously)
This is earlier than I’ve ever pulled out the festive Yuletide décor and placed it around my domicile. (Typically, per my anal retentive must-wait-until-December-1-to-deck-the-halls belief, I wait until the 12th month of the year.) I was singing Christmas carols. I was even smiling. I didn’t have to hassle any of the kids to try to help me out because I didn’t ask for their help. I didn’t want any. I did it myself and actually enjoyed the experience.
This year, I resolved, the Grinch is dead.
The Grinch, normally, is me . . . well, me ever since I had the audacity to try to combine three active children, a career, Christmas and Hanukkah together into one little month. My Grinchiness was compounded by the exponentially exploding school, youth sports and extracurricular activities schedules kept by the Picket Fence Post kids, the responsibility for trucking said kids around to practices falls mainly to work-from-home me. (I coordinate with The Spouse over the nightmare of an overloaded calendar on getting them to games, etc.) I also have the responsibility for sending out Christmas and Hanukkah greeting cards (including the requisite photo), doing the bulk of the holiday shopping, making Christmas cookies with the kids, making latkes on the first night of Hanukkah, buying advent candy for the ginormous Advent elf we have on a kitchen door (which sometimes scares me when I enter the kitchen in the middle of the night and forget he's there), buying the Hanukkah gelt (traditional chocolate coins) and wrapping the gifts.
In past years, Christmas time hasn’t gone all that smoothly. In the mid-1990s one of my grandfathers died on Christmas, his favorite holiday. A few years ago the Picket Fence Post family had to have our cat put to sleep the day after we put up our Christmas tree. (She was having full-body seizures as we decorated said tree with the children, and The Spouse and I tried to act all cheery.) Last year I came down with the swine flu on Christmas Eve, missed seeing The Girl play Mary in the Christmas Eve church service and spent eight hours alone in my house on Christmas Day feeling absolutely miserable while The Spouse and the Picket Fence Post kids went to my brother’s house. Bah freakin' humbug.
But it will be different this year.
I’m shaking off the stress, the melancholy, the feeling of tremendous burdens from Christmases past and starting anew. As I made this vow to myself on Saturday while decorating the mantel with a Santa Claus, an angel and various stuffed characters from the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer TV special, I learned that a beloved senior member of The Spouse’s family passed away. While the family mourns and remembers her – The Girl’s middle name is the same as the now-deceased relative’s daughter – we are making an effort to be light of heart and respect what she meant to us. (This was NOT some omen or sign indicating that the Christmas season is forever doomed in my house, I repeated vigorously to superstitious self.)
This year, despite the fact that we’re heartbroken upon losing a member of the family, I’ve told the Picket Fence Post kids that they’re going to see a different mom this holiday season, one that’s not all clenched and jaded, dark and twisty. As much as it goes against every fiber in my body to do so, I’m going to try to just go with the flow this year. If things don’t work out exactly as planned, that’s okay. If things get missed, well, I’m only human. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect, especially not all at the same time. Things don’t even have to be super-organized (that’s always my undoing, I try to be super-organized then get crushed by my "To Do" list and miss stuff anyway). I’m going to be of the moment this December. I’m going to listen to Christmas music and try to reclaim the spirit I once had. It’s worth a try isn’t it?
Who’s with me? Who’s up for de-stressing Christmas and throwing onerous "To Do" lists out the window, or better, yet, into a roaring fireplace while you sip a mug of hot cocoa?
“How do you spell ‘sword?’ Is it s-w-o-r-d?” The Youngest Boy asked me this afternoon while he was writing his Christmas wish list . . . We might need to swap that hot cocoa with something stronger if a “sword” is on the list.