It’s that time of the year and I’m feeling stressed. There is so much to do and so little time to get it all done. I’ve been slowly trying to clean and decorate my house. I have yet to do anything about Christmas cards except to track down a few new addresses. Shopping? Let’s not talk about it. Guilt is weighing on my shoulders about all that I have not accomplished.
I’ve been stressing myself out even more than usual this year because Shorty is really starting to understand the concept of Christmas and Santa Claus. It’s so important to me that I make this holiday as special for Shorty as my own parents did for me. My parents did Christmas in a big way. Lights, fancy tree, beautiful decorations around the house, lots of gifts, lots of Santa stories, but most importantly some fun traditions that marked the season and the day. Even at my age I haven’t forgotten some of those traditions. They are a wonderful part of my family memories.
I’m feeling the pressure to duplicate my wonderful childhood memories. I’m also feeling the pressure to get it all done in the same time frame that my parents thought appropriate. So according to their schedule I’m waaaaayyyy behind. It doesn’t help that I have lots of neighbors who work on the same schedule as my parents. I’m looking at all their beautifully decorated and lit houses and feeling incompetent.
It also doesn’t help that Big doesn’t feel the same compulsion to do all the traditional Christmas things that many Americans do. His parents didn’t do Christmas in the manner that my family did. There were no lights on the house or bushes. No Santas around the house. They did have a tree but these days with his parents being kid free they don’t even do a tree anymore. They exchanged gifts but there wasn’t the whole build up of the big guy in red coming down the chimney. Big does not completely understand my need to do all this Christmas hoopla. He’ll only put up lights because I’m making him and he’ll get to it in his own good time.
But two nights I had an epiphany of sorts. You see I was trying to clean and decorate but I’m having some problems with pain that is hampering my ability to do even the most mundane of tasks. Seeing as I’m waiting to find out if the last round of fertility drugs and stuff worked I don’t want to take any medication to help relieve the pain. I was feeling pretty low about the situation and broke down in tears while doing laundry (pain had something to do with those tears as well). This is where Big and Shorty found me upon awakening from their nap.
Then something happened that made me feel a little better. Big and Shorty hugged and comforted me. My beautiful son then noticed the few decorations I had managed to get out while he slept. He looked at them and then at me and said. “Wow!
Here I was thinking I was a failure for not being able to get things done in the manner I have done in past years and along comes Shorty to remind me that sometimes it’s the little things that matter and that I should give myself a little credit for even the small things I do. That as long as I keep plugging along until Christmas no one but me really cares if the house is decorated in the time frame that I think it should be done.
I’m also realizing that the traditions I really want to pass onto my child have little to do with decorations. Yes, I do want him to have the pleasure of appreciating the Christmas trimmings, but I’d rather he remember the time we spent together on Christmas. I’d rather continue traditions like a big family breakfast together after the gifts are opened. I’d rather he remember time spent together looking for the perfect tree. I’m hoping someday, like me, he’ll have a little brother (or sister) who crawls into his bed in the wee hours of Christmas morning to giggle and wait for 6:00am when Mom and Dad says it’s finally okay to wake them to see if Santa came.
Most of all I want Shorty to understand that Christmas is about giving to others. It’s about understanding the real reason why we celebrate this holiday. Maybe when he’s older we’ll start a new tradition of going to church on Christmas Eve or we’ll pick a charity or cause that he can help give to so he learns the value of helping others less fortunate.
Maybe I’m not doing Christmas the same way my parents did but I have a feeling in the end that won’t matter.