If I did what I want to do at Christmas I'd be on a beach on Kauai. Why am I not doing that?
In the intro to this week's This American Life episode, my imaginary boyfriend, Ira Glass, makes a point about adults trying to recreate the magical aspect of Christmas from our childhood by doing the same things over and over, never thinking that we're killing the magic of Christmas by doing just that. And yet we feel pressured to create "traditions" and consistency, because, well, that's what you do.
I had to endure a somewhat last minute trip to visit The Boyfriend's half-sister in Simi Valley on Christmas Day. Nothing bad happened, but oh my God, a three year old and a one year old running around in a non-kid proof strange environment surrounded by people who were no doubt skeptical about us at best - my stress level was off the charts. Who is this woman with her sperm donor-conceived kids who's been dating the estranged half brother for a few months? Oh and she has a giant red cold sore on her lip, awesome. I did not want to go there. But I had to because relationship. Thank God I had thought ahead to book the kids all day at the baby kennel the next day so I could meet a girlfriend for a movie and an extended bitch session over sushi. Lord did I need that.
So Christmas was ok. We drove around to look at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve, then opened mountains of presents Christmas morning, and thankfully the kids really enjoyed it and did not push and shove each other and scream "mine!" as I'd feared. The Boyfriend got me a vintage watch as requested and I got him tickets to The Cure.
Still, the whole time all I wanted was for all of this holiday bullshit to be over so B can be back in regular school and I can enjoy our normal routines. I don't judge myself for this. I know almost all parents - certainly mothers, and certainly stay at home mothers - feel this way at this time of year. Maybe it will be different when the kids are older and are less work. And it's not that I didn't enjoy any of it. It's just that the holidays with all the breaks from school means my normal work load goes WAY up around here. And who the hell wants that?
This week will be worse since B will have a four day stretch with no school and yet no Christmas to keep him occupied. I've taken the liberty of booking both kids at the baby kennel on Saturday just so I get a break. But still. This week is going to suck. Still, once New Year's is over, it's only one more week until B is at school five days. And that, for me, is going to feel like Christmas.