The presents are (mostly) wrapped. Just one more trip to the grocery store. Dinner with dear friends tonight. Ready for our annual Christmas day tradition: eating chocolate chip waffles and watching Elf. It’s been so festive around here. We’ve done ice skating, The Debbie Allen Hot Chocolate Nutcracker (adorable), latkes, cookies, concerts, candles, crafting, playing drums to Christmas with Weezer on repeat.
There have been moments of big fun. And moments of big feelings. It’s certainly better than it used to be, but Tariku still gets mega-stressed around holidays– worse than me even. He gets particularly fixated on gifts and has real anxiety around lack. He can’t bear anyone getting a present that he doesn’t have. He can’t bear to not get exactly what he wants. He can’t bear not knowing what’s in the boxes. The anticipation can make him so miserable that I sometimes wish we could just go to a deserted island, put our heads down, and wait out the holidays with no gifts at all.
This year, he’s obsessed with the inconsistencies in the Santa story. Every morning for the last month we’ve been subjected to a nonstop barrage of questions: How old is Santa? Where does he live exactly? How old is Rudolph? Does his nose still light up? Is the list alphabetical? Do we know anyone naughty?
It’s like being interrogated by a cross between Carl Sagan and Amy Poehler’s Kaitlin from Saturday Night Live:
I can be quick to attribute any and all household discord to my failings as a mother. Every year I try something different. I do more; I do less. We leave town; we stay home. We have people over; we spend it alone. If I could only get our boho, interfaith, mixed-up Holiday thing down, I’m sure everyone else would finally be able to relax and have a good time. Because, y’know, I control the universe. We can do such a number on ourselves as mothers.
This morning I read Jennifer Hatmaker’s post on Parenting Kiddos Who Sabotage Big Days. It offered honesty, information and helpful tips. Most importantly, it made me feel less alone and reminded me to release my expectations. The worst that happens is it’s a bad day. Big deal. So thanks for that Christmas gift, Jennifer Hatmaker!
I don’t think it’s going to be a bad day, btw. I think it’s going to be a great day. But it’s nice to know we’ll be okay no matter what.
Alright, I’m off to pick up our Buche de Noel and the biggest latte you’ve ever seen from our scrumptious local Lark Cake Shop.
Wishing you all a very warm and beautiful night, full of music and joy.
And kindness… to yourselves, moms, most of all.