Monday, December 26, 2011

A crazy, bittersweet, and Grace-ful holiday

Christmas kicked my ass this year.  I guess it sort of does every year, but I really thought it was going to be a TKO this year.  

I'm trying to sort through the aftermath today, but I feel like I'm coming down from a 3 day bender.  I don't really know what that feels like, because I've never been on a 3 day bender, but I imagine that this is what it might feel like.  NO, it's not because I drank too much wine over Christmas...maybe I had a glass or 8 yesterday (throughout the day, thank you), but it's not that.  It's a Holiday Hangover.  So much energy goes into making it "the most wonderful time of the year."  I always want it to be magical for the kids, because it was always a magical time of year for me.  I've always loved the Season; the lights, the family gatherings, the gift exchanging... But DEAR GOD, it's so much work with the list making and party planning and shopping and multiple celebrations...

For the first time in years, and with a little help from some friends, I had the gifts wrapped before Christmas Eve. Thus, the morning of Christmas Eve did not bring with it its usual sense of urgency.  It did, however, bring with it some sad news.  My husband's grandfather, to whom he was very close, was in the hospital, and it didn't look good.  It's not my story to share, so I won't share it here.  I will say, though, that it wasn't sudden; we knew it was coming, we just didn't know it would be Christmas Eve.  

The hubs left to go be with his family, and I went about the business of making Christmas happen, waiting to hear sad news and worrying quietly for my husband in the back of my mind.  

It's a little surreal how life's mundanities are often juxtaposed with its most profound festivity and sadness can get all wrapped up in each other... Life marches on, though, relentlessly.  

There was baking to be done, commitments to be kept, and a family tradition to uphold.  I'm not sure this is exactly how it went, but here's what I remember...  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


We exiled the cats a few months ago in order to pacify my husband, who was on animal overload.

[Monday night]
Me: Honey, it's freezing outside. We need to make them a warm box with a heat lamp or something, or we need to let them inside. 
Danny: They're animals.  They'll find a warm spot in the garage and curl up together.  They're fine.

[Tuesday morning]
Grace: Mom, Daddy said the cats can come in! I promised I would clean the litter box. 

[Wednesday morning]
I didn't sleep half the night because a cat kept trying to sleep on my head.  But hey, Dad got to be the hero.


5 am

[boy-child slinks into bedroom]
Cole: I just puked.  [crawls into my bed]
Me: In your bed? 
Cole: No.  
Me: Is it on you?  
Cole: No.  

6:30 am
I discover where the puke occurred.  It's dried all over the bathroom floor, wall, door, toilet, rugs, etc.  He apparently tried to catch it, and it sprayed. You know, like when you put your thumb over the end of the water hose?  (What do you think the chances are that he didn't have puke on him when he crawled into my bed??) And clearly, the child is not going to school. Fuck me.

Wait, Danny's off today.  He's in charge of the puking.  Yay!

8 am
I attempt to work amidst the Holiday Hell in my living room.  Nope, can't seem to find the time to finish decking the goddamned halls...  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Holiday cheer, delayed

I've been married to this man of mine for 11 years, with him for 12.  He is Mr. Scrooge.  Christmas music makes him twitch.  He white knuckles it through holiday events.  Every year, when I make him climb a latter and hang the icicle lights from the house he wants to murder me, but he tries not to let it show.  I always browbeat him through the Holiday Season, and he grudgingly allows me to.  He wants to not hate it, but he just can't shake it.  

Last week, we were laying in bed having coffee one morning, and a commercial came on the TV that reminded me... We really need some new yard ornaments this year.  We had some problems last year, I need to go get new strands of lights, the snowman is irretrievably damaged... And he's gonna be pissed if I go buy new stuff.  *sigh*

Five minutes later, he said, "I think we need more decorations for the yard this year.  I'd like to put some new stuff out."  

Wait, what?? 

It seems he's turning over a new leaf.  He wants to be into the Spirit of things this year.  All righty then, let's do it.  I'm in.  

So, Sunday was supposed to be Holiday Decorating Day. We were going to go to Garden Ridge, buy some stuff, come home, and deck the halls, baby.  And the yard.

That's how it was supposed to go.  Here's how it really went...

We stop at Garden Ridge.  They have aisles and aisles of holiday decor that is somewhat picked over but still lots to choose from.  As I start to put things in the basket, I start getting questions from Negative Nelly...