I had no intention of writing a post over the holidays let alone on Christmas Day but when the day goes awry, all things are open to change. Our kids are four years old and seven months old. They have no expectations for Christmas day. I, on the other hand, do, and when those plans become incredibly skewed I can’t help but feel deflated, disappointed and as though my Christmas has been stolen from me. As I write, it’s still Christmas Day but I’m wishing it was over already. It’s been one hell of a washout with one thing or another but I’ve learnt some very important lessons today.
The ham I swear by every year has not been touched and and hour ago I hacked up the turkey into shreds because it too wasn’t eaten – may as well prepare it for some pots of curry since it won’t end up on our plates today. For the first time in my life, I have not had a traditional Christmas dinner. The roasties are prepped but sit in the fridge and the potatoes, for creamy mash, are swimming in a cold pot of water. The kitchen is clean since only a handful of sandwiches were made today.
Little Miss is once again not well. After her bad run in November I thought we were in the clear but a couple of bouts of vomiting have kept her away from all food (bar a few pez candy sweets Santa brought her). I spent my morning cleaning vomit from her room and the sitting room. I had wanted to be knee deep in sorting the recycling and wrapping paper but the day had other plans. After almost having an anxiety attack as I watched the ‘perfect’ Christmas I had planned wash away with the rain that poured outside, I realised I was all wrong.
Christmas is but one day a year and it’s impossible to account for what may or may not happen. Santa will arrive, the ham may be perfect and the fridge packed so tightly that you can barely find the butter at the back but none of that matters.
So, the pretty picture you had envisaged may not happen, you may get a Wispa thrown full force in your face (yes, this also happened to me today), and your new jeans for Christmas may have ended up in the washing machine by 11am but one thing I have promised myself for 2018, is to find the positive.
Admittedly, as the four year old’s puke poured down my neck, which felt like the pancake batter I wanted to, but failed to, make because of said puke, I could barely see any positives in our Christmas Day. But they are always there.
Even though I felt incredibly sorry for myself at 1pm as I took a sideways glance at Harry Potter every now and again, drank a coke, ploughed through the Celebrations (putting the empty wrappers in the box – that’s how ugh I felt) and made up Little Miss’s Lego set, in a quiet and lonely room as the two kids took naps and B got trapped in A’s room with her, I reclaimed a bit of Christmas for myself. But in that solitude I gave myself a talking to. There are no expectations for Christmas. A day is what you make it. Love it, hate it, boycott it, make it yours.
When the kids peeled themselves away from their beds I had brightened up and left my anxiety behind. As B says, I set the mood of the room (I think he does, but let’s not get into that!). I wrote a post last year called “Being Present At Christmas“. Since its my favourite time of year I didn’t want my mood, my disappointment, to steal that from the kids and especially B. So I stopped lamenting and started being present. I listened and watched as A played with her toys. She made up stories, she told jokes, she was happy. And wasn’t that what I was hoping for all day?
It’s not about the food. It’s not about the organisation of a day. It’s not about having everything perfect. It’s about those kids and being with them in the moment on that day. So our traditional family Christmas went out the window but when our old traditions don’t match up with our new life as parents to two then those traditions have to change. And thats ok because when Christmas goes awry, reclaim it in whatever way you can. Find your Zen and remember there’s always the next day.
Merry Christmas! I hope you have all loved and cherished each other on this special day. And in hope you are some ham and turkey for me too!