Is it just the holidays? I feel as though I’m running, running, running all the time and never quite getting caught up with all that I have to do. Forget the housework, I can barely stay on top of dishes/laundry/vacuuming (those are my top three that HAVE to get done – everything else is a bonus). And there’s stuff getting missed, I completely missed Julianna’s book fair this week, spaced that Jessica had an outdoor field trip on Thursday and sent her to school in a sweater instead of a winter coat, and Sam… actually, I haven’t forgotten anything with the Boy. Or I have – but haven’t remembered it yet.
(a holiday pic from 2009 that was so cute, I threw it into the blog instead of an actual Hanukkah shot from this year. Confession – I haven’t actually taken any Hanukkah shots this year yet.)
It’s the fourth night of Hanukkah, or maybe the third. Or fifth. I really can’t remember. But I do know that we’ve only managed to light the candles at home that first night. Marc’s been working every other night since, and by the time we get home from picking him up, lighting the candles keeps falling to the bottom of the list, with putting the kids to bed, finding jammies, reminding everyone to brush their teeth, etc – taking precedence.
Jessie and I went to a funeral on Wednesday, for my friend Annie’s mom. Annie and her daughter Glennys are forever friends of ours from almost nine years ago when we moved to the apartment under theirs just before Sam was born. Glenny is a year older than Jessie and I was so glad that I had taken her out of school that day to go, because when Glenny saw her she ran into her arms and then burst into tears when I hugged her. She’s my fourth child, and I was extra glad to take her home with us on Tuesday night for a bonus visit before she went back up to NH with her mom.
That might be part of why I’m feeling so off – the whole week was confused with the mid-week trip to RI for the funeral, and then having Glenny here for Wednesday night and all day Thursday. It’s like we’re on vacation, sort of. School vacation starts next Tuesday. Julie’s been sick with a cold all week – not sick enough to BE sick, just sick enough to be ultra-clingy and crabby. She’s sniffly, and slightly feverish. Our car overheated on Monday and had to spend the day at the mechanic – which meant that Sam missed school for the day because we couldn’t get him there, and both kids missed religious school. Then he missed Wednesday as well. He started complaining his stomach hurt, and I yelled at him. I thought he was faking – or worse, just not even trying to go. I knew he probably didn’t feel great, but he wasn’t running a fever, wasn’t throwing up – and had already missed Monday. So he stayed home, but I was bitter – and he ended up vomiting about an hour after I left to go the funeral.
Ugh – it’s just been a crazy, stressed out sort of week. On the upside, this has to be one of the least drama-filled Decembers we’ve ever had. Part of it is simply that we don’t have a lot of extra energy to invest in emotional drama this year – between Marc’s job and the schedule and the running around – everything is so busy and rush-rush-rush, we don’t have TIME to invest in a big existential debate about the spiritual identity of our family and where Christmas fits into it.
But a bigger part of it, I think, is due to experience. Last year, I struggled with the whole Christmas tree/Hanukkah thing – seeking approval from everyone. I learned from that – and this year, I went into the holidays with a very different attitude. There were two lessons that really resonated for me, and I’ve tried hard to keep them forefront in my mind. Number one, the holidays are what I make of it – and seeking out commentary on choices we’ve made is a recipe for disaster. If I want the holidays to be happy and filled with light and love – I have to make it so. And second – December is just going to be lonely for me. I’m a Jewish girl with a tree – and my Christian family is going to be a little perplexed and a little hurt that I downplay the holiday, and my Jewish community is going to look at my tree and be a little freaked out by it. There’s one time during the year when I’m going to feel the most distant from Marc – and it’s going to be the week or two leading up to Christmas. That’s okay – and if I don’t want to hear the comments, don’t ask. I didn’t chair a December Dilemma discussion group this year, and very deliberately have avoided any pointed conversations with everyone. December isn’t going to last forever, and a week from now, I’ll be breaking down the lights and repacking all my boxes.
I love the holidays, and suffer through them at the same time. They aren’t easy, and they always raise questions about identity and heritage and I’m always going to over think them and analyze every little aspect – because that’s how I roll in December. But I’m getting better at them, and that’s enough of a reason to celebrate for me.