Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day Three: The Holiday Begins

Thanksgiving used to mark the beginning of the holiday season in which I most cherished spending time with friends and family and celebrating and visiting with people that I don't often see as much as I would like.  I would look forward to traveling out of town to get away from our routine and just relax.  I loved the parties and long meals and lots of wine. Starting about five years ago though, that all changed.

I still enjoy seeing our families and friends, but I constantly find myself weighed down with the anxiety of all the craziness that accompanies this time of year with my children.  There is a string of sugar overload from Halloween to New Year's.  Bedtime is perpetual disrupted and exhaustion presents itself in the form of tantrums and tears from everyone.  And nothing feels "normal" until the second week of January. What am I celebrating again? 

Around 10 am this morning this year's holiday season began. We packed up our three kids and endless bags of junk we apparently can't live without, hopped in our minivan (with a newly cracked windshield to add to it's scratched back end charm...hooray!) and headed to Houston to spend 3 days with Alex's family. 

Fortunately, I love Alex's family so they aren't a problem thankfully, just me...I am the problem. 

It all starts with packing.  This task completely overwhelms me for three kids and myself.  I am horrible at deciding what we are all going to wear and need while away.  It is almost as if I believe that someone actually cares what I have on, or what my children are wearing....and we all know this just isn't true.  Every trip I say I am going to do better and every trip I take way too much stuff, stress over what I left at home and hate shifting through the excessive amounts of clothes to get dressed every day.  I need to hire someone to pack for me.  Does someone like this exist?

Once loaded with all our stuff I was determined to have a good attitude for this trip.  I have often found that changing my attitude can make a huge difference in how much I actually enjoy myself....but this is really hard for me.  I am very comfortable in my anxious dread. I usually stress myself out so much with the anticipation of the upcoming pain of the chaos of the celebrations, that the event is ruined before I have arrived.  I have a really difficult time relaxing and enjoying the time with everyone when my brain is constantly calculating the number of hours each child has slept and how and when I am going to be able to get them to rest.  When am I going to get to sleep so I can feel ok?  Oh, and I don't like large masses of children in one house and their are ten of them at the family gatherings. This is beyond overload for my weak emotions.  Who made all these people that are running around everywhere?  Why are they so loud?

Things started off well though.  The kids all did a fantastic job in the car.  Cole even eventually gave in to his exhaustion and slept for at least 30 minutes, a huge feat by itself for him during the day.  I became even more optimistic that this holiday could be fun for me.  We had a family photo at a park a few hours after we arrived and it was, well...fine, it was great. All the kids ran around and the weather was fantastic and I found myself having fun and thinking my kids looked really cute on the other side of the park playing with Alex.  Perhaps I should always watch them from this distance? 

Dinner at my mother in law's was great, as usual, and the chaos of the 10 kids didn't even bother me.  How is this possible? Did someone slip me something in my Starbucks earlier today?  This can't all be due to a good attitude.  Should I be spreading the word about the power of positive thinking? This must be a fluke. 

Bedtime, surely a breakdown.  Stella went to sleep without a problem, but that's nothing to get overly confident about because that is her norm.  And here it is...the boys have been getting out of their beds for the last hour and a half...and seriously testing my good attitude.  I am already fighting my need to compute their hours slept before the estimated time I feel they will wake up.  I am desperately hoping that the distraction of all their cousins will ward off too many exhaustion induced tantrums...or that I can drink enough wine and find a nice corner to sit and eat pumpkin pie so I don't have to deal with them.  I am really wondering how in the hell I am going to keep a good attitude up for the next 48 hours?  I might have an aneurysm from the exertion this is putting on my brain.  Happy Holidays.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOL oh girl you have the most insane wit! I find myself filing away many words of advice and wanting to send you Rescue Remedy (available at health food stores) to get you through Christmas! You seriously crack me up! Tawnya