Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Perfect Schmerfect

Christmas is over, the kids are a little over halfway through their two-week winter break from school, and although you may think I must have hit my head on something by admitting this, I have to be honest and say that it's been great. It's not only two weeks off from waking up early, nagging kids about homework and helping with projects, but a half-month break from running around to all of their horizon-expanding, brain-enriching, mom's insanity-inducing activities. I have slept in a few times, haven't had to put gas in my car, and everyone has been healthy. Yeah, there have been a few disagreements, a couple eye rolls, and there was that whole "Zoe choking Charlie because she was losing at basketball" episode, but that's because even though we may be more relaxed than usual, we still have a pulse.

Since December 25, I have been asked no fewer than 148 times: "So, how was your Christmas? Did you have a nice Christmas?" or "What did you do for the holidays?" Instead of being able to tell drama-filled tales of get-togethers with distant cousins, driving in bad weather, eating figgy pudding, or trying to be nice to people that I would rather see wipe out on an icy sidewalk, all I could honestly say is: "Christmas was fine, we didn't start the car for almost three consecutive days, we ate a lot of meat, vodka was consumed, gifts were opened, my wardrobe consisted of sweats and, umm... that's about it." As uneventful as my winter break is, I have no regrets or complaints that we aren't doing do more, seeing more people, or hosting an ugly sweater party.

While I was spending a couple days in my pj's over the holidays, a couple of my girlfriends probably could have used a sprinkling of boring, a dash of uneventful, and would have definitely welcomed a few swigs of booze.

My girlfriend, Theresa, is genuinely content with her gorgeous family, keeps realistic expectations for the holidays, is grateful for the simple pleasures in life, and has a great "if the kid's socks don't match, who gives a shit" attitude. Theresa's low-maintenance holiday enthusiasm was drenched two days before Christmas Eve by a three-year-old that welcomed the winter break by throwing up no fewer than 25 times within 12 hours, and then developed an ear infection on Xmas Eve. Her six-year-old, who had strep throat the week before Christmas, was lucky enough to wake up with another sore throat on the 24th. Because her in-laws are of the "more germs the merrier" mentality, they welcomed the kids with open arms for Christmas Eve dinner and went about things as usual. During dinner, her daughter's stomach issue hit Theresa and she spent the next couple hours in the bathroom alternating between hurling, sitting on the toilet, and lying on the floor, thanking the ceramic tile for it's cooling qualities. Somehow, her husband managed to eventually drive her home without getting a speeding ticket, and she collapsed into bed, where she remained through most of Christmas Day.

Another girlfriend, Marie, endured a three hour drive in a blizzard, with her kids, to spend the weekend with her homeschooling sister, a brother-in-law that doesn't drink, and her sister's homeschooled humorless kids that don't get to stay up late, even on holidays. While a holiday weekend at a cabin surrounded by snow, woods, and family sounds ideal and postcard-perfect, it was more like something out of a dark comedy written by the Coen's. The kids whined, no one wanted to get drunk with her, the brother-in-law fabricated a story in order to get his own bedroom (and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep), and she had to scrub lasagna throw up out of the carpet at 3AM. To top it off, Marie's adorable dog who has a tendency to eat some not-so-adorable objects got some mysterious bit of shrapnel lodged in it's throat, causing it to drool uncontrollably on Sunday morning. Knowing that there would inevitably be a bill for an emergency vet visit, stirred and shaken together with the fact that there were eight loads of laundry waiting for her at home, a tree that needed to be taken down, and a job that she needed to make an appearance at on Monday made her say: "Cheers! This cocktail tastes like shit, and what in the hell just happened to Christmas?"

Despite the fact that our weekends were so varied, they were all memorable, and even fun, in their own way. We all know people that are never content: things are either too boring, or hectic, or messy, or spontaneous. No matter what happens, they're never satisfied, they're always a little bit pissed off, and they're willing to tell anyone who will listen just how pissed off they really are. Theresa and Marie, though not jubilant with the outcome of their holidays, weren't angry about things either, and are actually able to laugh at the absurdity of how they managed to spend 48 hours. They probably would have been fine dealing with a little less pukeage, someone understanding their humor a little more, and a little less dog drool, but since Theresa's husband is willing to clean up barf, and Marie remembered to pack her own bottle and knows better than to be ashamed about drinking alone, it was definitely a Christmas to remember. For all of us.

Feel free to share your own tales of Christmas imperfection!


Anonymous said...

Hearing Marie's tale makes mine sound not so bad - I guess misery loves company... : )

love theresa

Tracy said...

I had a conversation with someone I work with. She asked how my Christmas was. I said, "It was wonderful. The kids were sweet and didn't fight and everyone seemed happy with their gifts." She said, "Is that how you rate your Christmas? By the fact that the kids didn't complain and weren't fighting?" HELL YES! It was relaxing and peaceful. Honestly, this woman obviously doesn't have a bunch of kids at home!