Hey guys! I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season–but it’s totally ok if you’re not enjoying it, and hugs to you if you need ’em.
For me, it has been…what is the word I’m looking for…?
I started my Christmas shopping for the girls way back in October. In fact, the bulk of my shopping was finished before Thanksgiving. I also planned events, such as The Polar Express train and The Nutcracker ballet well in advance–you have to plan in order to get good seats. I bought them matching Christmas jammies and matching Christmas dresses. I planned a “Christmas mini” photoshoot in jammies and pictures with Santa in the dresses. I took advantage of every photo and video op throughout the season–baking cookies, seeing Christmas lights, decorating the Christmas tree, opening presents, singing Jingle Bells–you name it, I got it. Our Christmas cards were outstanding this year. I take this all very seriously, because I want my girls to have memories of magical Christmases. I feel SO MUCH PRESSURE that I can hardly breathe sometimes (I literally hold my breath).
Why do I feel so much pressure? I think every Mom does. And then moreso for me because my kids don’t have much family–my sister is literally their only extended family because everyone else is either dead or defective. So I think I do a lot of this stuff to distract them…and myself…so they don’t notice or feel cheated that we have no extended family.
And so far so good–I’ve pulled off 4 magical Christmases for BG and one for LS.
This year was especially wonderful, because BG is at a “magical age” where she absolutely ADORES Santa and looks forward to visiting him and talks about him all season. You should have heard her scream when Santa made a surprise visit to her preschool–like a fan girl of a boy band! Besides Santa, BG really enjoys all the things we do during the holidays. She loves to help me bake, decorate the tree, etc. And this year I had her help me pick out toys to give to kids whose Mommies and Daddies didn’t have money to buy them for whatever reason, and she helped me wrap them too–giving away toys isn’t her favorite part of Christmas but I’m glad she understands that it’s the right thing to do–she’s such a sweet kid ❤
It was also wonderful holiday season because BG and LS have each other. I have had the privilege of watching their relationship grow and blossom now that LS is old enough (9 months) to interact with BG. They are so funny! BG plays hide & seek with LS, who gleefully crawls or toodles after BG in her walker. I love that they are interacting without my facilitating it–I just sit back and watch and listen and enjoy their banter. They are so blessed and fortunate to have one another, which I’ll always emphasize that to them.
One of the perks of being a SAHM is that I am able to attend all the events and parties at BG’s preschool. So far this year I did the Halloween party, the “Momsgiving Feast” (which I helped cook the day before), the Gingerbread and PJ’s day (we helped them roll/cut out/decorate cookies), and the Christmas Party–for which I even whipped out a hot glue gun and made a “jingle bell toss” game. I’m also on the school’s board and attend meetings once per month, so had to squeeze all that into the holidays as well. LS is like our class mascot because I have to bring her to every event. I just wear her facing outward in the Ergo360 baby carrier and she loves it–hardly makes a peep!
As stressed and overwhelmed as I’ve felt at times during the holidays, I enjoyed them. I got a great deal of satisfaction from completing each task, great and small. The sweetest reward is making the holiday season special for my kids–I love seeing Christmas through my childrens’ eyes–bright with wonderment.
On Christmas Eve BG hopped around in anticipation. She’s dramatic (noooo idea where she gets that from 😉) and she was fretting, saying “What if Santa doesn’t come?!” And I did my best to reassure her that she is an excellent kid–nobody is perfect–and reminded her that she and Santa had already talked so it’s basically a done deal. I think she really believed Santa was coming but she just enjoyed the suspense. She carefully laid out the cookies we made for him, the milk, the reindeer food, and a card she made–she was very serious about carrying out her vision in her quest to please Santa. She had a hard time getting to sleep that night, and I was worried that she’d wake up and catch us setting up her giant Frozen castle in the playroom. Luckily she didn’t wake up–we had also warned her that Santa ONLY comes if you’re asleep, so she had extra incentive to stay in bed.
A highlight of the season was when I took BG to see Frozen II. I bought her a new “Elsa” dress and we hyped it and counted down for weeks beforehand. The movie was actually not that great (way too bizarre for young kids IMO). But it was fun to look forward to. Another special thing was I found a Disney advent calendar (at Wal.mart of all places) that was a giant book that opened and contained 24 pockets, each with a mini book of a Disney movie. BG loved waking up each morning to open her book! And I think it was way cooler than opening a piece of chocolate. The calendar was a steal too–on sale for $5!
Santa brought the girls matching gifts–a large Frozen castle for BG and sleigh with character dolls, and a little people Frozen castle and sleigh for LS. It tickled me to see the matching Big girl/Little girl presents side-by-side! We gifted them all sorts of things–BG hasn’t even played with half of it yet. Props to Tar.get for carrying extended sizes in their Christmas jammies this year–I found a 4XLT for Mr. MLACS so we were all able to wear matching family pajamas on Christmas morning!
Mind you, I had intended for us to wear these jammies on The Polar Express train, but we didn’t get to go because…Mr. MLACS was shocked 2x by his defibrillator as he was leaving work on the night before we were supposed to go. He was instructed by his Cardiologist to go to the ER, so a coworker took him while I tried to stay calm and pretend like everything was ok at home. Mr. MLACS was stuck in the ER for almost 24hrs–it was a nightmare and he wasn’t fed, had to fight to get his meds, didn’t have his CPAP machine to get proper rest, and he couldn’t leave because the ER doc wouldn’t discharge him and there were no beds for him to be admitted so he was basically held prisoner in the ER. The Cardiologist apologized when he saw him the next day, because that was never his intent when he sent him to the ER–he just wanted to get bloodwork and a once-over. After that fiasco, Mr. MLACS needed to rest, I needed to calm my nerves and was in no shape to drive 2hrs to an unknown place to take this train ride, so I told BG that the train broke down and we couldn’t go. She was not pleased, but it didn’t ruin her Christmas. For the record, we still don’t know *why* Mr. MLACS has these dangerous arrhythmias and it’s terrifying every time he gets shocked and basically cheats death. His heartrate shot up to 400 bpm. I didn’t even know that was possible. Each time this happens I spiral into a depression worrying about Mr. MLACS dying, and it lasts about a week and then I yank up my bootstraps and claw my way out of it. But it sucks this had to happen 2 weeks before Christmas and…
Three days before my 40th birthday party. Yep. I turned 40. I’m definitely having some tremors of midlife crisis, but nothing full-blown. I had wanted to take our family to Europe, because it’s #1 on my bucket list, but it was just too much. LS would have had to get her MMR vaccination early and then they would want her to take it *again* just 4 months later at her 1yr visit and I’m all for vaccines but I was not comfortable double-dosing her. Plus I spent the last several months having a baby and I moved 2x so I did not have any time to plan a trip of this magnitude. Instead I made myself a party. I ordered flowers and charger plates, candles, cakes, etc. and it was a vision! I hosted (and paid for) a ladies brunch with the mom-friends I’ve made in our new home. It was a lot of time and money and I generally don’t make a fuss over my birthday, but it was my *40th* and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t mark the occassion. I really wished more of my oldest and dearest friends could have been there, but I get that asking people to do things during the holidays is a crapshoot. The newer friends who did join me were quality and I appreciated their company. And one of my girlfriends–my younger “hanai” sister from Hawaii–did fly out and spend the weekend with my family, which was lovely.
So you see… I am filled with gratitude that my kids–my family–had a magical holiday season. That we are all happy and (mostly) healthy. Gratitude that we are so blessed to be able to give our kids everything we want for them to have, and still have enough to be able to give to other families in need.
I’m wishing all of you a Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that 2020 fulfills all of it’s potential.