Christmas is 11 days away and, oddly, I’m actually calm … this year. But there was a time, not all that long ago, when that was simply not the case.
Not. In. The. Least.
You see, I did too much. As a young wife, I created these ridiculous standards and then, every year ….I delivered. Every time. Our tree was spectacular, my freezer bursting with homemade tarts, cookies, pies, fudge and peanut butter balls. Presents were carefully selected, wrapped, labeled, mailed to people near and far. Songs were carefully chosen for an annual Christmas CD and placed into delicate artisan crafted cards.. and mailed to nearly 60 people. Four course meal? Hardly. Try seven. Hand-decorated stockings hung by the chimney with care. And .. to top it off: hosted a party for 50+, in our home, and did all the cooking. Oh, and worked full-time. Martha Stewart can suck my socks!
Should have seen it coming.
The poor hubbs didn’t. Poor hubbs, who was happily oblivious to my turmoil lurking within. He was only trying to be helpful as he cheerfully announced, two nights from Christmas, that we should all go out for dinner! Our boys, at that time 16 and 8, erupted in cheers! The hubbs beamed with delight at the brilliance of his helpfulness.
Not so much.
Smiling woodenly, I mentally calculated: ok .. if-we-get-to-the-restaurant-before-5:30-we-won’t-have-to-wait-for-a-table-and-we-can-eat-and-be-back-at-the-house-by-8:00. You see that’s when I was planning on icing the 4 dozen sugar cookies taunting me from the freezer. And finishing the wrapping. And ensuring that the turkey was properly defrosting. And finalizing the menu for the guests arriving early the next morning. And making sure everyone had clean “nice” clothes to wear and. and. and.
So … off we went in the SUV and even I had to admit, it was gorgeous out. A perfect winter’s evening, with snow falling, Christmas lights twinkling, and every house up and down our block absolutely glowing. More cars than normal were parked in driveways, signaling the arrival of college kids and other family members home for the holiday. Slowly I felt myself drawn into the moment, the laughter, the music.
We enjoyed a nice meal and, more than once, I caught the hubbs beaming with delight that he had orchestrated this moment. And, I had to admit, it was fun. The restaurant wasn’t crowded, it felt wonderfully decadent to be waited on and, for a moment, I forgot about all that was remaining on my to-do list.
As we headed back to our neighborhood it began to snow again. Big, fat fluffy snowflakes, the kind that swirl and twirl below the street light. Magic.
Sitting in the back with our youngest boy, as he went over his wish list for the 80 millionth time, I heard these words from the front seat, ” Hey!! Look!! Carollers,” our oldest joyfully exclaimed. He and the hubbs chatted excitedly as we headed up our street, the same direction as that massive orgy of carollers were headed in. Oh crap. Continue reading