Ho, Ho, Holy S#@*
If it feels like I haven’t written in a while, it is because I haven’t written in a while. Not exactly sure where the time has gone but, by golly, it has gone. Can you hear that playing in the background? It is a broken-record. I know.
Somebody get that fixed already! Chuck? CHUUUUCCCCKKK?
(This is the part of the post where we all pretend that I have a cute, but nerdy, assistant working for me named Chuck. He would bring me lattes, the latest issue of HGTV magazine and swatches of fabric for my perusal. He would order my lunch just the way I like it, charge and answer my phone and be ever so slightly intimated by my presence. Ahhhhhh…to be important enough to have a Chuck. And BTW, welcome to my mind. It is a cavernous place…don’t get lost).
So, the other day a friend posted this on facebook:
Only 7 more Saturdays? Are you freaking kidding me?
I am, all at once, so totally giddy with excitement and completely nauseous at the thought of this. The plan was that I was going to be on-top of it this year. Organized. Planned. Prepared. I was going to be Holly Holiday; Pinterest-worthy holiday decorations, treats and gifts ready to go at a moment’s notice. There would be no holiday stress because I would have sorted everything out by mid-September.
Needless to say it is mid-November and I am not any closer to this goal than I was on December 26 of last year. And do you wanna know what is even worse? When I went to double-check that I did, in fact, have only 7 more Saturdays left until Christmas… this is what I found:
There is actually only 6. Seriously? That can’t be. I might hyperventilate.
I know what you are thinking: “Six Saturdays = Six WEEKS until Christmas. People meet, fall in love and get married in less time than that, and you are worried about buying presents and decorating cookies? Thanksgiving hasn’t even rolled around yet. How can you possibly be behind? You have LOADS of time to get your shit together. Stop stressing me out.”
I will entertain the possibility that I might be overreacting. But keep in mind that it is my job to worry and…I know things.
I know, for instance, that my weekdays are a TOTAL loss. Trying to accomplish anything on a weekday is just plain foolish. The routine is this: get home from work, “make” dinner, stick kids into bath, read stories, tuck everyone into bed, listen to them whine and sniffle for 30 minutes and then put them back into bed. Deviate from this routine and you will pay. In tears. And they will be your own.
So this means, really, that I have only 12 weekend days to work with. And because I am a realist, let’s go ahead and subtract 4 of these days because I will be either: traveling from China to Oregon, horribly jet lagged and/or too hung-over to function.
That leaves me with just 8 days to get my holiday preparation on. Acccck!
But mustn’t you forget that I have 2 children. So now let’s divide 8 by 2. Why? Because it is a scientifically proven fact that it is only possible to ignore these pesky offspring for half of the time they are under your supervision (don’t ask me how I know that). The rest of the time you have to attend to their various and many needs, of which wiping bums and noses seems to be most common.
So now I am down to 4 days. Four days, people! Four days for Father Christmas to leave a tasteful but festive holiday trail though my house. And to add insult to injury…I live in China; a place where the words ‘tasteful’ and ‘Christmas’ have never peacefully coexisted since the dawn of mankind. Now, do you understand my stress level?
If you get this stress, then you get me. If you don’t, then you never will and, seriously, you should really stop reading and go do something else. There is nothing here for you, friend. Just walk away.
But alas, this was not meant to be an Oh-Woe-Is-Me-I-Don’t-Have-Time-To Make-Christmas-Cookies post. I actually have a REAL purpose for writing. The purpose of this post is to offer sage wisdom for all you young uns’ out there looking for the meaning of life. Are you ready for this? It is big. Grab a pen.
Here it is:
If you ever want to do anything…anything at all – like learn a new hobby, find the perfect moisturizer, go to the bathroom, reupholster a chair, lay hardwood floors or develop a fool-proof Holiday toolbox complete with the perfect Christmas play-lists, recipes, family traditions, gift-wrap and craft ideas – do it before you have kids.
Got it? That is it. The key to life (or at least the key to accomplishing things).
Because here is the thing, once you have children your life is the exact same day, on loop. It consists of these 14 actions in no particular order: wiping noses, putting socks on little wiggly feet, picking up toys, stepping on toys, pretending you are a gorilla, taking socks off little sweaty feet, pouring cups of milk, wiping up spilled milk, kissing boo boos, picking peas out of rice, laughing your ass off, drinking wine, searching for beloved toys and answering the question “Why?”.
Notice there is not a lot of space in there for “making Martha Stewart inspired Christmas crafts” and “finding the perfect gift for Aunt Jessie”.
As a parent, you do so damn much in a day and accomplish absolutely nothing. And while all that nothingness can leave you exhausted, frustrated and totally unprepared for the upcoming holiday season, it is in the sum of this nothingness that we find the actual key to life.
Let’s be clear, there are probably are many keys to life and I’m no expert on the topic. But for me, having children has brought a clarity and meaning to my life that I never knew existed. These little time-consuming creatures offer me the most boundless unconditional love but, I think more importantly, perspective. They are the reason I stress out about Christmas. I just want it to be perfect for them. I want to recreate the magic of Christmas that my mama created for me (which is a tall order, Ceci Dittmar!).
So there you have it….life’s greatest irony: before you have kids you have all the time in the world to plan for the holidays but you don’t really care. After you have kids, all you care about is making the holiday magical for them but of course you lack the actual time to do so. Whomp whomp.
Anyways, this was really just a long-winded way of letting you know that you may or may not be getting a Christmas card from me this year. Chuck is seriously such a slacker.