‘Once a year the holidays come swinging at your head. Feast until you’re full of pain again.’
~ Jonatha Brooke
Welcome to the Holidaze.
It’s December 1st (as I write this) and I’m already tired.
As a young mom (my kids are now 14 and 8), I used to look forward to all their darling pre-school performances, plays, and holiday feasts. All the kids were so cute in their fumbling attempts at performing songs they barely knew the words to and dance moves that made us all laugh.
Now that they’re older, I begin to dread fall. I love the leaves turning and the colder weather (for those of you who haven’t kept up, I moved to Northern California last year), lighting candles and chimneys burning, wearing sweaters and boots (it’s a girl thing). It’s wonderful. What I don’t love is the mad rush to create a big deal out of every single little tiny minute detail of our kids’ lives.
If you’re a parent, you know what I mean. In an attempt to get with it, my second-grader’s school now sends us ‘event notices’ from Shutterfly for EVERYTHING: ‘we will be sharpening pencils on Tuesday at 10am. Please make a note of it.’ Okay, I exaggerate but honestly, doesn’t it seem that way? I love that they want to keep us informed of what’s going on with our kids when we’re not there, but really? ‘PE this Wednesday.’ Yes, I know. It’s been PE day at his school since it opened. We KNOW (and we’ll still forget the change of clothes).
Kids have been doing school performances in every country since man started walking upright. You and I did them and our parents dutifully came and oohed and aahed. It’s our job as a parent to attend, enjoy, and make a big deal. And we love it! We do.
I especially love when I catch my boy doing dance moves or singing their assigned song when he thinks nobody is paying attention. Those candid moments are like little peeks into his psyche and it’s so adorable, I almost squee (and I hate that word).
What bugs me is when we do get there finally, for the long-awaited performance, traffic is a nightmare, parking is non-existent, and families are saving 25 seats in front for ‘immediate family.’ We all want to see, parents! Oh, and don’t forget the mom who takes 20,000 pictures of her child, blocking everyone’s view, while we all stare at her ass (she really should NOT be wearing those jeans) instead of being able to see our own darling kid (not to mention that there’s a professional photographer and videographer who will be selling tapes of our darlings for $29.95, plus tax).
If you know me at all, you know I don’t cook. I don’t bake (my mother will insist I used to bake cookies but I think she’s getting old). I burn. So when it comes time to bring homemade ‘special to our family treats,’ I do what many a working mom or dad do: I go to the store and visit the bakery. Hey, those people work hard to make homemade stuff for us (in their large, industrial warehouse kitchens). The ingredients are all the same.
(Hey, I bought them with love.)
I have nothing but respect for people who cook and bake. I’ll happily eat whatever you make. So will my kids (unless it’s got too much garlic — kids don’t love that, especially in cookies. Just sayin.’) I don’t try to keep up because I simply cannot. Besides, keeping up takes too much damn time — time I’d rather spend with my family watching the same old Christmas movies in our cozies.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten something else (I’m hurrying to write this as we head to the mall — I know, right? — for our Christmas pictures…and I’m Jewish), so feel free to add your favorite annoying moments. And just in case you think I’m a scrooge, I will remind you that while my tongue is planted firmly in cheek as I write this, I’m no different than any other parent — I enjoy the lovely wonder and joy of the season.
Just not all at once.
Don’t forget — please donate even $1 to purchase Kindles for our troops — and you’ll be automatically entered to win a Kindle! All monies go directly to the Ebooks For Troops organization. Thank you! (Drawing on December 21).