Reminders of longer and warmer days can still be found in our front yard. In fact, garden hoses, jack ‘o lanterns, pumpkins, long-since-dead potted summer plants, a retired barbecue grill, an emptied sandbox, withered mums and a Christmas sign are all on display at our house. We are the only family on the street with kids and both parents working out of the home, and boy, does it ever show.
Teaching, grading papers, planning lessons, two kids, a dog, family commitments, homework and maintaining some semblance of a functioning household keeps us busy enough. Add to that that water came flooding into our basement during the rainstorms just before Thanksgiving, and just a few days before that the dog chewed a part off of our brand, spanking new central air unit. Both of these mishaps have required John to have to undertake extraordinary home care measures. The flooded basement necessitated that he rip up the remainder of the carpet in my office, which required moving ALL the office furniture. Having my office up-ended makes my head explode. He also had to RE-clean gutters in the cold, poor guy. The chewed central-air unit… yeah. That’s a BIG problem. Fortunately for Tula, the damage she wreaked only cost $100 to fix. But the cost of preventing that from happening again will cost twice as much. People, you have no idea how tenaciously and single-mindedly she has destroyed Every Good Thing in our backyard. And she’s not even out there all day. John’s only solution is to build a fence around the unit, a project he has started but hasn’t been able to finish because there is only about 40 minutes of daylight and a LOT of kid and dog chaos when we get home from work. Plus it has been really, stinking cold.
Can you see why raking leaves, and putting away Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations, and winterizing the yard, and decking the halls with boughs of holly just isn’t anywhere near the top of our priority list? The tree is up and decorated, but there are still boxes of Christmas decorations to be put out. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t had any inclination to do it yet. I have not committed myself to the spirit of the Season this year–AT ALL, and I feel really, really guilty about that. My kids are at the prime age for the Christmas spirit and the magic and joy of it all. In fact, this very well might be the last year that Little Miss G believes in Santa, and so, yes, I want that Hallmark commercial, jingle bells, warm and fuzzy feeling this year… but I can’t seem to generate it within myself to share with them.
It doesn’t help that I’ve had a depressing (and that is no exaggeration) amount of work since the beginning of November, and our school’s Christmas break doesn’t begin until Dec. 23 this year. In the past few years, we’ve had a good six to seven days off before Christmas that allowed me to decompress and really enjoy the preparations and reflect on the meaning of the Season and share it with the girls.
I know this sounds very BAH-HUM-BUG… But actually, it’s just the opposite. I want to get into the Christmas spirit, but I feel like everything is in disarray and out of joint and horribly late and all kinds of undone. Christmas is slip-sliding away from me this year. I need to pull my act together. Anybody got a magic wand, or fairy dust, or the secret to cloning myself? No?? Well, the heck with you people then!
I think I’m going to have to choose the bare essentials of celebrating Christmas this year and just focus on doing them well. How about some suggestions on which bare essentials I can focus upon to make this season Merry and Bright for my family? You may not have any magic wands, but I KNOW some of you have some great ideas. I’m thinking I can handle three small projects/events. This is my Christmas S.O.S. I’m open to suggestions, so let’s here ’em.