Holiday self-care: visions versus reality

Me every year before Christmas season:

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This year I’m going to make healthy choices for myself to stay grounded. Like, stick to my calming decaf teas instead of coffee, which my body tells me feels so much better.

 

Me yesterday:

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GIVE ME ALL THE COFFEEEEEES.

Before the holidays:

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I’m going to buy gifts early and ship in plenty of time to reduce stress!

Me this week:

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OH CRAP OH CRAP WHY DON’T I HAVE PRIORITY MAIL BOXES! I’LL TRADE MY FIRSTBORN AND A COFFEE FOR ONE RIGHT NOW!

 

Me before Christmas:

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We will make homemade hand-crafted thoughtful teacher gifts made of love and unicorns

Me two days before the last day of preschool:

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PEACE OUT, MAKING MY THIRD RUN TO THE STORE TO BUY GIFT CARDS!

 

Merry Christmas everyone. May you stay sane amidst the chaos and find time for self-care. (Real self-care. Like, time to breathe deep and tune out the noise. Coffees are optional. Though I am totally drinking one as I type this.)

 

Wishing You a Very Andy Williams Christmas

Guess which Christmas song is my daughter’s favorite?

A live recording of Andy Williams performing what might be the cheesiest, grooviest  rendition of Jingle Bells that you have EVER HEARD.

Those dancers! The jazzy flutes! I cannot get enough of this song.

What makes it extra special is that this cheesy CD was a gift from my grandma many many years ago and it brings back so many good memories. My grandparents hosted a party every year on Christmas night. Grandpa and grandma raised a blended family of twelve children, enough for each day of Christmas! As you can imagine it was quite a crew of grown children, grandchildren, and any and all assorted friends who had no where else to go on Christmas (and whom my grandma welcomed with open arms).

Pretty sure my beautiful grandma is tickled pink up in heaven knowing her great-granddaughter is in love with one of her old favorites. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and blessings for a beautiful season and new year, however you may celebrate. 

 

 

 

 

Frazzled Family Christmas Bingo

FrazzledFAMILYBINGO!Only nine days until daycare starts up again…but who is counting? Merry Christmas everyone!

FRAZZLED FAMILY CHRISTMAS BINGO!

Child meltdown from too much stimulation (or sugar) Eat a sweet while hiding from child Someone gets sick Marital spat Spouse begins shopping (less than 72 hours before xmas)
Last minute Amazon purchase Family drama Spouse insists on watching Bad Santa Christmas ornament gets broken Public meltdown (parent)
Third trip to grocery store in one day Purchase gift for yourself FREE SPACE child is watching TV THANK GOD Store clerk aims to appease child with sticker, fails miserably Countdown until daycare opens (less than 72 hours into holiday break)
humblebrag appears in Facebook feed Visit a creepy mall santa Last minute scramble for caregiver or teacher gift Christmas card envy Unsolicited parenting advice from relative
Public meltdown (child) Buyer’s remorse over annoying toy purchase Run out of (or lose) Scotch tape End up in line at Post Office (despite best efforts) Child steals a cookie

PDF version

What would appear on your bingo board? Share in the comments or on Facebook. Cheers!

 

It’s a “Bluetiful” Christmas

After we lit our Christmas tree this year, my nearly three-year-old daughter stood back and declared, “it’s bluetiful mommy!”

She didn’t realize it but her mispronunciation rang true. It is a blue Christmas. It’s a beautiful Christmas.

It is bluetiful.*

I am slowly, ever so slowly, starting to accept that bluetiful is the new normal.  That the moments of greatest joy—like Christmas—are also moments that carry so much loss.

Often it is in the little unexpected things. As I was meticulously placing the lights on the Christmas tree, I stepped back to assess (and ask my daughter for her opinion, as though a three-year-old has opinions about tree light placement). Not satisfied by the gaps in light coverage, I removed all the lights and started over so I could get it just right.  I then realized I was utterly and completely channeling my mother. I laughed and also shed a tear.

It was bluetiful.

As a kid I never understood all the sad Christmas songs. How could a holiday full of so much joy inspire so many sad tunes? And why did so many adults make such a fuss about the fact that I was so full of joy at Christmas time? How could it be so difficult, I used to wonder, to find the joy in the season?

Last year was a difficult Christmas. It was the second Christmas without my mom, and somehow it was much more difficult than the first year she was gone. I knew the first year would be hard. I expected difficult. But the second year, well I thought somehow it would magically all be OK again. And when it wasn’t, I was let down and angry.

This is the third Christmas without my mom. This year I am expecting the sad moments intertwined with the joy, like lights strung on the tree.

I know that I’ll tear up when I pull out the sweet Mickey Mouse ornament she purchased for me when I was not quite a kid anymore but not quite an adult.

I know that there be joy though, too. My daughter seems to have inherited my enthusiasm for the holiday. She marvels at the lights on houses, she points excitedly to any and all depictions of Santa Claus, and as she curls up on her pillow at night, she whispers “Santa Claus is coming!”

It is all so bluetiful.

I will do my best to delight in her unadulterated joy as I play (just a few) sad Christmas songs in the background. (And maybe even adjust the Christmas lights on the tree one  last time.)

How is your holiday season going? I hope it lands gently for those who are missing loved ones. -Sarah

*A tip of the hat to my favorite blogger of all time, Glennon Doyle Melton at Momastery who inspired me to see my own mashup by sharing her own (brutal + beautiful=brutiful)