So…I totally lost my temper the other day while we were supposed to be laughing and having a jolly good time decorating our house for Christmas. I live for the holidays and preparing my home for the upcoming gatherings and starting new traditions with my young kids usually brings me lots of joy and cheer and happiness. But it all turned to poop last Sunday. My husband and I were having the what do we HAVE to do on Christmas vs. what we WANT to do on Christmas conversation. I could feel my blood pressure rise as I was putting together the freaking Christmas Village. I go to plug in our fake, pre-lit Christmas tree and only half the lights work. Ugh. Then dear husband tells me a certain family member is ditching my daughter’s very first Ballet Christmas Spectacular for “personal reasons” and I am mad. Screw decking the halls, someone hand me a whiskey.
From the other room I hear crash! craaaccckkkk! My daughter got into the ornaments again and had just broken her third (or was it the fourth?) ornament. I stared and almost cried at the loss of the last of my mouth-blown glass ornaments I purchased from the KMart Romantic Heirloom Collection years ago, long before I had destructive children. My daughter broke at least two last year and was probably just wanting to finish them off for good. So much for heirlooms. I see the baby making a bee-line toward the broken shards, salivating over the delicious-looking bits of glass he couldn’t wait to stuff in his mouth. Had his fill of styrofoam holly berries, I guess.
Then my daughter found my secret hiding place for all her gifts and demanded to open her stupid Elsa musical snow wand. I told her it was not for her, that maybe Santa would bring her one if she stopped breaking ornaments and just waited until mommy was ready to decorate the tree. Big mistake. She starts sobbing. I was so done with holiday decorating that I flung the garland in the air and gave up. (And unintentionally broke ornament #5). I also said a bunch of swear words and then angrily vacuumed up the broken remnants of a disastrous afternoon.
I decided the best thing for me to do in the situation was to escape to a quiet room and just decompress. I was starting to let the stressful parts of Christmas get to me. Of course I turned to my iPhone. And we all know how that goes. Scrolling through Facebook, all I saw were smiling people standing in front of perfectly decorated Christmas trees. It was like they were all glowing from the inside out with happiness. I loved seeing those beautiful faces so much and immediately felt like I was in the scene where the Grinch is standing alone on the mountaintop looking down at all the Who’s in Whoville singing joyfully together despite him having “stolen” Christmas. I felt like a failure because everything in my house was still in boxes and bags.
But I did have an A-HA! moment. Now, here’s where I get all uplifting and self-helpy on you. I can’t help it, what good is it to write about this stuff if you don’t have a change of heart?
I realized I had nothing to complain about. My kids are little maniacs but I adore them. I usually laugh at them. And my husband tolerates my fiery temper without blinking an eye, even when I have my nuclear mommy-meltdowns. However, the good thing about having a melt-down so early in the season is that there is still time to make good on making this a fun magical time for my kids.
So…this week I am going to have a holiday decorating do-over. No discussion about family or work or anything that could cause us stress. No worries about fragile ornaments (they’re all broken anyway) or fake trees that won’t light because we are lucky to have a home and each other. We will do most of our shopping online. My husband also encouraged me to keep our expectations of others very low and promised we will do things and visit people during the holidays on our own timeline. The good thing about having small children is that most people understand you just can’t do it all. At least we hope that’s what they’ll think. My daughter still tells me she loves me even though I took away her stupid wand. Even though the baby has been biting me a lot lately, I am pretty sure it is because he’s teething, not because he holds anything against me. Oh man, sometimes I feel so undeserving of these amazing people. Only three weeks until Christmas and I am not going to waste a single day. I am through taking things so seriously and letting the little things bug me (at least for today). It is the most friggin’ wonderful time of year after all. So here’s to moving forward and having the first annual Peak Family Holiday Decorating Do-Over. It can’t go any worse, right? Deep breath.