There’s a scene in the movie Christmas Vacation where Ellen complains to Clark about his ridiculously high expectations on big events like holidays. Boy can I relate to old Clark Griswold. My family will shake their heads in agreement while reading this post. And I’m pretty sure they’ll remind me for years to come about how I frantically went to great lengths to dismantle our dead Christmas tree in order to put up a new, fresh tree just 5 days before Christmas. Stringing lights with a newborn strapped into the baby bjorn…do not try this at home, folks. I digress here, but have to ask, do any of y’all obsess over this type of stuff too? If not the tree, stressing over getting the right gifts for people, writing thank you’s in time, making sure you sent a Christmas card to your OBGYN because well, she was responsible for a safe birth of your newest family member on the front of the card. Ha!
Seriously, there is so much chaos during the holidays, how do we not all go cray cray? I spent the best part of December worrying about things that are mostly out of my control, like what if a kid is sick for the holidays? There isn’t enough hand sanitizer out there to prevent this fear from coming to fruition sometimes. And the sickness train rolled into town and stopped at our house multiple times this Christmas.
My biggest anxiety was realized when a perfect storm of illness swept through my family a few days before Christmas. As a result our social calendar of festivities with family and friends was shut down. And we were on lock down. But in the end it was still a great Christmas. Maybe the best one yet. How can this be??? Well for starters we were forced to be at home with just us. Our new family of 5. At times I longed for my sisters or a babysitter or someone (anyone!) to just give us a hand while in the trenches. But while we were down there some really magical moments happened.
I guess that’s what you might call the spirit of Christmas. The good stuff. While I was too sick to even text my friends Merry Christmas (sorry guys, can this blog post shout out count?), I was laser focused on my kids on Christmas day. I spent zero time cleaning up anything (the house can wait) even though towards the end of the day the kitchen was starting to remind me of a frat house. I spent zero time trying to get my family dressed to the nines to go to Christmas dinner at our friends house. And as much as I look forward to going to that fun festive party, I honestly didn’t mind frozen pizza and pigs in a blanket with my party of 5. Gathered around the table eating the freezer’s finest, holding Jack while he slept so angel-like, the sweet voices of my little girls, and catching my husband’s eyes and knowing that he got it too. I’ll store this scene in my mind as the best Christmas memory to date. No frills, just us. And then next December when I get all crazy about Christmas being perfect I’ll remember what perfect really is.
photo by Melissa Fitzgerald West