The holidays can be a tiring, stressful, hectic time set smack in the midst of dreary winter. Unless you’re a child filled with wonder, Christmas can become more of a chore than a joy. But as parents we do our best to ensure our kids have a happy and memorable holiday, filled with the excitement we experienced in our own childhoods.
Christmas morning at our house this year was filled with amazement and legitimate joy. For the first time, Avery “got” Christmas. She was in awe of each present and her brother was floored by his gifts. It was, dare I say, magical.
It wasn’t until Christmas night that mummy unraveled, just a little. Fa la la la la, sob, sob, sob wah.
Avery did well sitting at the kids’ table at my in-laws’ and I actually got to eat my entire turkey dinner. Pretty much. Come dessert however, she was overtired, overstimulated and overwhelmed. In lieu of dessert and conversation, Avery and I went home so the rest of the family could have a proper visit.
Getting her into her car seat was a struggle and a flailing arm made contact with my eye. I *may* have growled slightly. FYI: A sickly and exhausted mummy closely resembles a bear. On the short ride home (my father in-law drove us) I started to cry. He put his hand over mine and said, “It’s okay pet. We’re proud of you. You’re so patient.” That made me cry harder.
He dropped us at home and upon coming in the door, the dog was begging to go out, the phone was ringing and Avery started pulling ornaments off the Christmas tree. I just wanted to take my boots off. I was sweating and dizzy. Avery made a break for it up the stairs. She knows she can’t climb the stairs alone. When I asked her to come down, she growled at me. Apparently a tired and overstimulated child also resembles a bear. I plucked her off the stairs, let the dog out and picked up the phone to check the message. I must have hit ‘redial’ because I inadvertently called my brother back. He asked me what was wrong and all I could say was, “Why does it have to be so hard?”
Nothing out of the ordinary happened. Avery didn’t have a seizure. Dinner was nice. So why the tears? I blame that fat bastard Santa and the expectations of perfection we force upon ourselves at Christmas. (It didn’t help matters I was severely sleep deprived and sick). My biggest downfall however was me….making comparisons. It kills me every time. At dinner, I found myself watching the three year old seated at the table with Avery. I was literally studying her. She was so independent and chatty and aware. And then Avery, my sweet girl. A year older than the three year old, but developmentally, years her junior. Some days it just stings.
I’m not saying Christmas was a bust. My children were indeed filled with wonder. But for me, there were mixed emotions. Happy, then sad. Hopeful, then regretful. Grateful, then guilt ridden. Parenting can be a nauseating roller coaster ride.