Will I EVER be ready for the Christmas season to be over? Every year it comes too soon for me. I don’t think I’ll ever be the person who tears stuff down on the 26th and says, “Thank goodness! I was getting so tired of seeing that stuff.” Our tree is still up and last night I stood in the living room looking at it. I forced myself to ignore all the Christmas-stuff boxes piled on the table waiting to be filled and put back in storage and pretended that Christmas was just beginning not ending.
Christmas this year was really good, actually, in some ways – in weird ways – kind of amazing. I went into Christmas with low expectations. Maybe I’m finally getting Mike’s philosophy that being a “realist” (which I still argue is a pessimist’s way of not wanting to admit they’re pessimistic) kinda makes sense. BFF Rebecca and I had a great conversation in early December. We talked about how, especially as moms, we work our butts off to create family memories/happy holidays and how things never ever go as planned. When it comes to life with kids, there will always be something that’s just not exactly how you want – someone will throw a fit or not have good manners or be in a foul mood or pass gas loudly at the table when company’s over or even just have a hang nail. It’ll be imperfect. So, we decided to wish each other a “Merry Imperfect Christmas,” a “Happy Mediocre New Year.” (We think we’re quite clever and witty.)
So, this year, I went into Christmas: prepared for things to go wrong and armed with the determination to – when things do go wrong – not let it ruin Christmas for me/us. I would find the ‘good’ in every crappy thing that rolled our way. I didn’t know that my plan to accept the lameness would be an invitiation for extra lameness!
Christmas Eve, after bumpin’-crazy-not-the-most-spiritually-fulfilling Mass at church, we headed to our good friends’ house for dinner. Just when we’re about to sit down and eat, Matthew quietly tells Mike and I that he doesn’t feel well. He’s as white as a sheet with dark circles under his eyes. Of course he is! He feels like he’s going to throw up. Of course he does! It’s Christmas Eve. Mike and I took turns sitting with Matthew on the front porch (he also felt really hot.) I WAS slightly disappointed to have to scarf my dinner and rush us all out the door, but I wasn’t THAT disappointed. We got home and Matthew quickly put out cookies for Santa and went to bed. Mike and I were JUST about to head downstairs to get out all the gifts for putting under the tree, when we heard Matthew start vomiting…all over…all over himself and his bed…an insane amount of vomit. But I didn’t really mind. I felt awful that he was sick (obviously) and it wasn’t how I wanted to spend Christmas Eve (naturally), but thankfully the timing worked out beautifully. Had we been downstairs, Matthew would have puked all over himself, the bed, come looking for us covered in nasty and discovered us doing the “Santa thing” and Christmas would’ve never been the same for him ever. His childhood was saved!!
We got him all cleaned up and put back to bed. We waited until; once again, he was asleep. We had pretty much just finished things up and were about to go to bed when we heard the tell-tale signs of puke bucket usage underway. But, once again, I was relieved with the timing. I even told Matthew that we had just gone to bed and Santa had come. So, at 1am on Christmas morning, I let him peek in the living room. Despite feeling awful, this did light up his eyes a little bit.
Christmas morning arrived with all the fun it brings – unwrapping gifts, the constant sound of Christmas music, yummy breakfast (which Matthew took two bites of), etc. We had one intermission in gift-opening so that Matthew could go throw up breakfast. We did spend the day wondering if we’d be able to go have Christmas dinner and do gifts with my parents and brother, but, again with the good timing, by the afternoon Matthew started to feel better. Shortly after we arrived at their place for dinner, Zachary announced that he didn’t feel well. Right. Of course. He laid on their bed – refusing to remove his new Buzzlight Year costume even though it was way too hot – instead of joining us for dinner. We did a quick gift exchange and packed up to come home (including giving each boy his own travel puke-bucket for the car ride.) We made it in the door just in time for Zach to throw up in the toilet.
In conclusion: Christmas was slightly pukey, but I wasn’t. You don’t ever want your kids sick. You really don’t want your kids sick for Christmas, but I’ve learned that 2012 might just be my year of having grown-up expectations. Not in a depressing way, like, “Oh, why even get excited about such-and-such? Something’s bound to go wrong.” No, in a, “I know that life doesn’t always work out as we’d like, but I’m going to try to find the good in ever moment…even the really crappy ones!” In that kind of a way. Yup, 2012 Jenny is optimistic yet realistic. (It’s January 3rd, the next time something pretty lame happens ask me how I handled it and we’ll see how long this whole yay-me-in-sucky-sitations thing actually lasts.)