Monday, December 28, 2009

Five Christmases

I had to work on Christmas Eve this year and boy was I bitter! I guess I could have trumped my assistant and had the day off, but for the most part it is a slow easy day of work and I don't have to lose any vacation time by being there....but it still REALLY sucked. Maybe next year I'll say screw the vacation pay cash-out at year end and I'll take a few days off.

Well, we survived another Christmas shuffle this year amongst our family. Below is this year's shuffle schedule:

1. Christmas Eve with my mother-in-law's family
2. Christmas morning - our house
3. Christmas brunch - my in-laws
4. Christmas evening - my family
5. Day after Christmas - my father-in-law's family

Don't get me wrong, my kids made out like bandits in the gift department, but just one year I would love to just escape to Tahoe and do a white Christmas in a cabin with just our family. I know what I'm about to say will sound cheesy at best, but isn't the real gift during the holidays just to spend time with each other? I miss so much while I'm at work that all I want to do is just see and be with my family. For the record, I know my "mommy guilt" is out of control and I'm working on it.

We went pretty low-key and low cost at our house this year by getting each of the kids one great toy gift. My daughter got a Razor scooter ($20, Target), my son got a Radio Flyer big wheel ($10, craigslist) and the baby got the cow and bird noise makers ($5 each, pottery barn). I also threw in some new PJ's and warm clothes that they needed - which they were not thrilled about, but were still happy to unwrap.

I can't believe that another year is almost seems like just last week that my life was a series of exciting options waiting to be clarified. I think the three kids and a mortgage provide all the clarity necessary at this point. The places I could go with the "if I knew then what I know now" concept...

I love everything about Christmas - even the shuffle has its perfect moments. I know there will come a time that I will miss the genuine joy of kids at Christmas. This was the year my daughter realized that Santa and Grandpa were the same. Each year Grandpa dresses up as Santa and makes the appearances at a few of the Christmas shuffle stops. It broke my heart to confirm that this year Santa needed help and Grandpa kindly volunteered. I'm keeping Santa alive at our house as long as possible.

Again I asked each of the kids to please, please, never grow up and stay my little ones forever. Again each of them shrugged and said "Sorry Mommy, I just have to get bigger." The truth is the bigger they get, the fuller my heart grows. They will always be my babies...

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