Remember the magic of the holidays? When you waited and anticipated and then enjoyed the days with the three f’s, family, friends, and food? Lazy days with football, gifts, and lots of fun stories ensued, and days off of work/school were pretty great, too. So what the hell happened to all of that?? Why is it that I get excited for holidays but then when they come, I remember why I dreaded them and just wait for them to be over? Sad, I know, but it happens.
There’s a lot to holidays now. It’s not just my family, it’s my family or his. And of course, ours. We have our kids to think about, so we can’t be as fancy-free as we once were, eating, drinking, carrying on because we have to make sure they are tended to. Travel time has to factor in endless pee-breaks, snack time, and lots of traffic. Weather has always played a role in holidays, but now there is just more of it than there was before (hell-lo el Nino!). Gift-gifting is a challenge, as we have more people to buy for (nieces, nephews, and your cousins – still? really?) and you have to budget for all of it way in advance. If I haven’t started by Halloween, forget it. My after-holiday credit card debt is ridiculous with a capital R. Decorating has taken on a new challenge, although now that neither of my kids try to pull the tree down anymore and they stopped (for the most part) putting everything, including pine needles, into their mouths (why would THAT look appetizing?!?!), it’s been more manageable.
For awhile, I thought it might be worse when I was with my in-laws. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love them, I do, but it’s just not the SAME as being with my own family. We have certain traditions we do, desserts we have, stories we tell. When I went for the first time to their Thanksgiving, they only had pumpkin desserts. Try telling that to a pregnant mama who wanted some good chocolate pie or oatmeal raisin cookies; besides the fact that I HATE pumpkin foods. But then I went to my own family’s holiday after being away, and it wasn’t the same. The stress of figuring out what appetizers to make, what time to be there, as well as kids’ napping schedules and bedtimes, and what time to leave so we didn’t hit traffic – sheesh, this blows, I thought. Why the fuck did I fight so hard to have the holiday with my own family? It’s just as bad as it was elsewhere.
I might try to blame it on my depression, or the fact that I am worn out from two kids. But is that really it? What the hell should I do about the fact that I want to rush through the actual holiday when it comes because I am so preoccupied with everything that comes along with it? I feign cheeriness, decorate listening to holiday songs, and make my famous spinach and artichoke dip for our family fiesta. I wish I could go back to my childhood, when everything was so carefree and happy, and everything about the holidays made me want it to never end. Even the Grinch couldn’t get in my way then. Now, I can never be sure about the ups and downs that come with the holiday/family dynamics, so I’ll hunker down with a glass of wine and some Lexapro and pray for a Merry Christmas.