Friday, December 28, 2012
ME (dropping kids of at their Dad's to get dressed for 6:00 mass): Now, did you guys get everything you need?
FRANK: Well, you were hurrying me so much that I didn't have time to find my shoes.
ME (exasperated): What? You don't have shoes to wear to church?
FRANK: It's not my fault. You were rushing me.
ME: It's never your fault. Fine, just let me go back and find them. And wrap the last minute gifts. And hang the garland. And make the coffee cake. And make the fudge. And everything else you guys expect to have done for Christmas. It will just be the first time ever in my life that I have to miss Christmas mass because I am making sure that everyone gets everything they need for Christmas. But don't worry about it. I'll find your shoes.
I didn't find the shoes. The fudge got made. The garland was hung. The coffee cake was delicious. I didn't miss mass. Christmas was not ruined. Everything happened just as it always does--including my annual Christmas Eve meltdown.
It happens every year--I force my expectations on everyone else and then get mad at them when they don't help me pull it all off. It really is my own fault. Here's an example: I bought a Christmas tree 3 days before Christmas. I went through a lot of trouble to get that tree. First, I had to find someone with a truck to come with me to get it. That someone had to be strong enough to help me carry it into the house and set it up in the tree stand. Then, I had to purchase decorations for it because all of my decorations were already hanging on the Christmas tree we'd set up three weeks ago. That's right, we already had a perfectly good tree with all of our traditional, beautiful decorations, including the hand-made tree skirt and angel topper set up in the family room.
So why did I go through the trouble of buying another one three days before Christmas when I still had gifts to wrap and cake to bake and garland to hang? Because I WANTED one! I guess I didn't have enough stress to ensure a decent meltdown. I wanted to add something more to my already overburdened schedule.
So I forged ahead with my idea for the most glamorous, glittery, gorgeous red and white tree ever decorated in the history of pre-holiday panic! I should have known better. Not even the tree could cooperate. She ended up looking more drunken saloon girl then glittery glamour.
If you read my Thanksgiving blog, you know that my best laid holiday plans never actually work out. I'm not over exaggerating. It took our holiday house guests only 24 hours to figure this out. In fact, I could only shake my head in appreciation that he "got it" when I saw this message on Twitter: "Enjoying a Christmas with my fiance's family. I see National Lampoon Christmas-esque in future."
I should know by now that the one holiday expectation that will always be fulfilled is chaos--noisy, raucous, hysterical, panicked, laugh-till-your-side-aches chaos.
In the end, the panic and melt-downs and sloppy trees were worth it. It didn't happen until about 5:00 on the day after Christmas, but when it did, it went something like this:
CARMEN: This was the best Christmas ever! Thanks, Mom!