True confession: I thought I was ready for Christmas. I had posts written and ready to publish. The kids didn’t have any spelling homework the last week of school. I was feeling all fa-la-lah and sprinkling fairy dust and being joyous of spirit. What could go wrong?
My last day of work was also my birthday. A mellow day at work with everyone’s brains already on vacation; we ate chocolate and finished up loose ends. On my way home I picked up a decadent chocolate vegan cake. We went out for dinner as a family. The kids were overwhelmed – unwinding from the last week of school and field trips and as many candy canes as you can hang on a twelve point set of antlers.
Then it was the weekend. I was overwhelmed. Suddenly I felt like the holidays were coming too fast. I finished baking, but still had a traditional christmas bread to make, presents to buy and wrap, and food to make. The weekend felt disjointed and I felt off. My counselor had mentioned that the holidays would be a change and a shift in scheduling. Thank god, I thought… I can sleep in, run when I want, spend time with the kids in daylight hours.
I didn’t want to plan and schedule our holidays. We were staying home and could just chill and lounge at home — sometimes that is rare for us as a family. I wanted the holidays to be easy, and spontaneous, and we could do whatever we wanted. Things do not always turn out like we hope.
The kids had a hard time with so much time off: the first week they were like rats in a hen-house. The Christmas rush came suddenly after only a few days off and the house, although still in the process of being decorated, quickly looked like the cat had digested and then thrown up bit of wrapping paper everywhere.
I also feel like Christmas is about spending time together and the food and the peace, love, joy, blah, blah, blah – with a rousing chorus of “Angels we have heard on high!” This Christmas I couldn’t feel farther from these sentiments. I was done: I was lying in bed under the covers instead of making Christmas dinner. I was ready to cancel the whole thing.
My husband saved the day and whipped up Christmas dinner. He even remembered to use the Christmas dishes and lit candles. It was lovely. I just didn’t feel it and I didn’t want to be faking things for someone else’s behalf. Who was I lying to?
I am glad my vacation is over. The last two days I forced myself to get up hours earlier than I could godly imagine to prepare myself to get to work on time. I was glad to have the time off work but I am glad to be coming back to structure. This time of year is hard when there is so much expectation and stress and there is time yet we never really get to turn “off” completely. I will miss sleeping in and running in daylight hours. I will miss eating cookies for breakfast and leisurely days. I will miss the non-work, -school, -homework, -extra-curricular activity days.
These past two weeks have been a condensed pressure cooker of emotions. Maybe getting back to routine will help me sort out what it all was. Maybe after a few days of spelling homework with my kids, the holidays may not seem so bad after all.