Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Confessions

I’m not going to lie. This is how I felt through most of the holiday season.
I had so many people tell me my Christmas was going to be so much fun this year. I really truly believed that it would be a whole lot of fun. I had visions of Camryn happily sitting at my side playing with bows and ribbon while we calmly opened presents. Even 2nd time mothers have unreal expectations because that is exactly what did not happen. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining at all….There are many adjectives I would use to describe our Christmas…Wonderful, Blessed, Happy, Content, Magical, Extraordinary, etc. I loved putting out presents for 2 kids, seeing all the family, showing off Camryn, opening up all the cute outfits that everyone gave her, watching my dad hold her while he told everyone on Christmas Day about how she was an answered prayer that we started praying for years ago, etc. But I don’t know that I’d necessarily use the word fun to describe Christmas. I guess I either forgot or didn’t realize how overstimulating Christmas is for little ones. Or at least it seemed to really bother our little one a lot. As Jay and I like to put it – Camryn was a total wreck last week.

I’m just trying to be totally honest. I’ve read so many blogs lately about Christmas and the Santa debate and how they celebrated Advent and all the perfect, wonderful stuff they’ve done. I even read about a baby 2 months older than Camryn who will pet baby Jesus’ head in the nativity scene if you say Baby Jesus to her. Yeah…none of that stuff went on in our household this year. So for all of you mothers who felt less than perfect this year because you had good intentions of doing great things, but didn’t get past day 2 or 3 on you Advent calendar – this is for you.

• I wanted to do some Advent stuff with Cade – I found something really cool to use on November 30. I didn’t get it printed out that day and I never thought about it again until somewhere around December 15th.

• We have a Nativity set that was part of our 12 days of Christmas gifts last year. It was one of my favorite things from those gifts and I loved doing it last year. It didn’t happen this year. In fact on Thursday, while cleaning for the party, all the numbered boxes filled with the wonderful Nativity characters sat on the end table mocking me. I didn’t know what to do. Should I leave it alone, or take out the characters up to day 5 so it looks we tried even if it would be lying? Finally I took the figures out of the box and set them up. I shoved the numbered boxes and book to read along with it in a drawer.

• We do Santa in our house. We are also involved very heavily in our church’s Christmas program which is a live Nativity. I think we do a good job balancing all of it. For any one who does Santa and worries about the long term damage it will do to their children - Cade and I had a talk about it this year. I asked him if when he found out Santa wasn’t real did it make him question if God was real. He gave me a look that said “that’s crazy”. He informed me he’s never doubted that God was real.

• Everyone has different opinions on how many gifts is the “right” number to give your kids. Some say 3 because of the Wise Men, some say 1. I don’t have a clue what the magic number is. I think it’s different every year in our house. Every year I set a budget and then go from there. Mostly the number of gifts correlates to their attention span. Obviously I didn’t get Cade, as a toddler, 20 presents to open. That would be insane. I had spent my allotted budget on Cade this year…until Christmas Eve. He told me that morning that if he would get Madden 12 for the Wii it would be a dream come true. So what did Jay and I do? Stopped at Wal-Mart, lied to Cade we had to buy chips for Grandma’s house, and bought the Wii game.

• Christmas night we let Cade stay up thinking he would fall asleep. I sat up during the middle of the night and heard the Wii still going. Jay got up and it was 2:30 am. Cade had played the Wii non-stop from 7pm until 2:30am while wearing his good slacks and sweater he had wore to church. It’s a wonder he didn’t have a seizure from staring at the TV for too long.

• My house has been so cluttered the month of December I haven’t been able to enjoy my Christmas decorations….mostly because I can’t see them because of all the clean laundry that is perpetually piled on the couch. It has been so bad that Cade even said he was tired of the house being a mess. So are we – I just can’t seem to get a handle on it. Cade told me that it made him feel claustrophobic. Join the club. I’ve felt that way for months. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will manage to get control of the house again? Maybe by next Christmas????

I guess what I’m saying is that I’m a totally imperfect mother. Christmas was really hard this year with a baby. It wasn’t necessarily fun, at least not the kind where you want to do it every day of the year – honestly it was quite exhausting. Our Christmas celebrations also spanned from Saturday through Tuesday and involved lots of traveling….which correlated into lots of diaper bag packing and unpacking…and an overwhelmed 6 month old. Also our trip to St Louis and the Forever Party Thursday night did nothing to help all of this craziness. So for those of you who may be feeling a little tired, or stressed or quite honestly glad to see the tree is down and life is back to normal don’t despair – those feelings are normal and they are ok to have. I think sometimes, especially for those who’ve waited years to have kids, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be perfect. And that’s just not possible.

But as I survey the living room and kitchen scattered with different gifts and things drug in from the car from our travels….my son planted in front of the TV playing too many Wii games….my daughter who has no interest in petting baby Jesus’ head from her Little People Nativity set, only tossing him as hard as she can…. I’d sum up our Christmas with two more words….Imperfectly Perfect.

1 comment:

Shelley said...

I absolutely love this post! It's REAL! Unlike some things you read on the web...Our Christmas was better this year, but nothing like I had pictured, yet again. I guess we are going to have to start at Halloween next year in order to fit everything in that we want to fit in!

We started our advent activities December 1. I had it all printed on cute Christmas paper and in the little drawers of the snowman way back in November. I had a list of the actvities in case I needed to do some drawer switching. I also used our calendar to decide what days we would have more and less time. I was highly organized with this. And I was EXCITED! Then life happened and we got off track and never caught up after about day 7.

We do Santa. I did Santa and never doubted God. Never even crossed my mind. The two are unrelated. Santa even came to see E at my parents' house on Christmas Eve.

And as far as Christmas gifts... We buy until we think we have what we want to get her. How scientific is that?? Our Christmases are kind of big, but Christmas and birthday are the only times we really buy her toys. Your Madden toy sounds familiar. About two days before Christmas E decided she wanted to ask Santa for an "elephant toy". We had no clue what that meant. Steve scoured stores during lunch breaks. I looked in the evening on my last minute shopping runs. No luck. Then on Christmas Eve morning while at Walmart it hit me...I got her the movie Dumbo. She loves it.

And our house is/was a wreck. Christmas does that every year.

Again...I love that you posted this. Imperfectly perfect was ours as well. :)