Christmas is my favorite time of year. The music, the baking, the wrapping, the giving, the decorating... oh my goodness, do I LOVE IT! However, even in the midst of my precious ones singing "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" and seeing their joy as they choose and wrap gifts (with lots and lots of tape) for their loved ones, life still happens. I just want to share with you a little bit of reality in case the past few Countdown to Christmas posts seem like too much silver and gold.
My children attend a co op once a week and I help teach a few classes. My first class of the day happens to only have two preschool students, who also happen to be my kids. I read stories to them, sing songs and do crafts for 45 minutes. It's fun! Or so I thought, until my four year old confessed that my class was boring. So, the following week I tried to make our time together more exciting. I decided to hide stuffed animals around the room and have the children go find them. Giggling ensued as my 3 and 4 year old raced about trying to find all the hidden Beanie Babies. I'd tell them if they were getting "hot" or "cold" depending how close they were to the stuffed animal. My four year old was "getting warmer" and becoming very excited to find an animal when his little sister shrieked out "I found one! I found one Momma! I found a STUFFY!"
I turned around to see my precious blond haired darling with a dead mouse in her hands. The critter was lodged in a trap but his body was protruding from it. Her dimpled hands were squeezing it's lifeless body as if it were an orange and she was determining if it was ripe or not. Once she realized just how squishy her "stuffy" was, she dropped it like a hot potato. I scooped her up and whisked her off to the bathroom where we washed our hands for quite a while. Once we got back into the classroom I disposed of the mouse. This is life.
Friday, I awoke for the day, decided to stay in my pj's and donned my apron. Cookie baking day! One of my most favorite times of the year. I had all the ingredients at hand, recipes laid out, and Bing was crooning Mele Kalikimaka across the Bluetooth speaker. My tribe awoke and came down the stairs like a herd of elephants with my ten year old lagging behind. Poor kid was pale and feeling miserable, so I tucked him in on the couch and fixed him a mug of tea. While he rested, the other children drew pictures at the table as I made breakfast. By the time breakfast was over I had cleaned up spilled juice twice, refereed several arguments, and the dog had stolen a pancake off of my three year old's dish. We then commenced with chores so we could just bake the afternoon away. While folding seven loads of laundry with my three year old, (yes, you read that correctly... it was a busy week and I didn't fold for TWO days!) she had an accident on our bed. Mind you, the bathroom is ten steps away across the hall. Also, she accidentally peed on my bed just three days ago. (insert groan here) Washing bedding is one of my least favorite things to do because I do it so darn often.
These are the moments I long to have wee little mice and birds enter in through my bedroom window as I breakout in song and they clean up for me. I waited... and no woodland creatures appeared, unless you count the stink bug that was pinging off the light fixture. So, I cleaned things up myself. Darn you Cinderella for getting my hopes up.
Before I know it, it's lunch time. Suffice it to say, cookie baking went out the window. It was thing, after thing, after thing. The dog snatched the salami and helped himself to lunch, my six year old came to me with his front tooth that his sister accidentally popped out while they were wrestling, and a friend called who needed a listening ear. Around 2:45 I decided to make a cup of tea and sit down. I checked on my sick kiddo, the others were off playing happily, and I sat down for a sanity moment. Upon my bum hitting the chair a child comes screeching to me with a headband stuck in her hair. It is not just any headband, it is MY special headband with intricate leaves and flowers and her delicate hair was wrapped tightly around each decorative piece on the band. Oy!
As I am unravelling her hair my eight year old says "Mom, we have to bring a veggie tray to the 4-H Christmas party today." OMGoodness... I completely forgot about 4-H!!! Let's see, it is 3pm at this time and 4-H starts at 3:30. I quickly finish untangling Princess Pickles hair and run to the fridge to grab the veggies. I put everything on a tray, grab the secret Santa gifts and head out the door. I arrive at 4-H with all the other Mommas and place our contribution on the table. Someone says "Dawna, you look so cute with your apron hanging out of your coat." and I look down to see I am still in my pj's. I arrive home a bit humbled, at least I had on a cute knit hat covering up my unkempt hair. :) I head to the bathroom, sit on the toilet, and realize, my apron strings are dangling in the toilet water. Ugh. This is life.
So, dear ones, as you read blog posts, Facebook feeds, and peruse Pinterest perfection, please know that behind it all, people still lead messy lives. You will wash the dishes and clear the counters and ten minutes later, it'll be dirty again. The laundry will be washed, dried, and folded and then the kids will come to you with the pile of clothes they found under their bed. You will forget to put out dinner and end up ordering a pizza. You will opt to eat the chocolate covered sea salt caramel rather than workout. You will forget to put the timer on for your famous sugar cookies, remove hockey pucks from the oven, and end up purchasing peppermint bark at Walmart for the cookie swap. It is okay! This is life. Give yourself grace and keep smiling.
Keeping it real and remaining jolly,