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Undecking the halls of holiday busy-ness

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published Dec. 17, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

‘Twas the week before Christmas when all through the land, the pressure was mounting – almost more than I could stand.

The guys were all nestled, all snug in their beds, while visions of disaster danced in my head.

Had a brief bout of holiday hyperventilation today, brought on by last-minute shopping trips. Yes, trips, as in two. One with each guy, to pick out presents for the other.

Big Guy finally has accepted my basic tenant: You don’t get to shop for your own gifts. He still has a little trouble buying its corollary — you don’t get to know what they are until you unwrap them — but his resistance is fading.

Little Guy wasn’t buying any of it, though, as he saw Mean Old Mom take off with That Older One. He was weeping by the door when we left and doing the same when we returned. I’m told he took a brief break for a nap at some point.

It took an hour after Big Guy and I got back to talk Little Guy down from the ledge so he could take his turn. Which meant we didn’t leave until early afternoon.

My God, do you know what it’s like out there, the weekend before Christmas?

I am not claustrophobic, but there are two situations that trigger it for me every time: being stuck in the bathroom with a toddler who can’t decide if he really has to go and shopping with a 2-year-old.

Today, one trigger followed the other.

The double shot brought out the worst of my deeply programmed holiday guilt. Suddenly, gifts we’ve spent weeks crafting seemed chintzy. Cookies I haven’t baked mocked me. Decorations shrieked at me from their garage jail: “If you weren’t such a pathetic parent, we’d be out of here already.”

Quick! Someone hand me a paper bag, preferably one without red or green print.

I vowed to do better. I’d find the Christmas tableware as soon as I got home – my children would not consume another meal deprived of snowman plates. I’d bake until family holiday must-haves filled every jar in the kitchen. I’d write out my anal little menu plan and list needed ingredients, down to the last olive.

Yes! There’s still time! I can save Christmas!

Just in time, though, I realized that by “saving” Christmas, I would ruin it.

That’s one of the great things about having four years as a working mom under my belt. I’m getting better at partitioning the to-do list into three categories: Essential; nice but its absence won’t mean the end of the world; and would love to do it if I won the lottery and could retire to a life of leisure.

So today, when I felt myself tettering, I thought back to when I was 4 to try to figure out what memories, were, well, really memorable.

I remember sugar cookies, mainly because we were allowed to eat them for breakfast. OK, so I’ll bake a batch of those.

I remember my stocking, the white one with gold and pink angels I cherished for years. Good thing the guys’ stockings have made it out of the garage jail.

And I remember a carefree day spent beside a glowing tree, where Daddy and Raggedy Ann joined me for coffee served with the brand-new dishes Santa had brought.

Guys, your mommy is back in touch with reality.

Forty years from now, you will not care about the snowman plates. It won’t matter what we ate, because you’ll be too jacked up on sugar cookies to eat anyway.

You will remember, though, if I spend an entire week on too much of a nervous spazz to even notice sad eyes pleading with me to play.

I will not give you that memory.

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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