Thursday, December 23, 2010

the reason for the season

Yesterday, I was frantic all day at work (which is why I did not post).  I was wrapping up a hundred little details so I wouldn't be bothered over the holiday.  I was arranging for a delivery to a partner's home tomorrow, since the firm's mailroom is closed and apparently he planned on reviewing a document over the weekend (!).  I was doing all the small projects I could so that I could work from home today and not have to carry home a huge stack of paper.  After work, I had errands to run, gifts to pick up, etc. 

And somewhere about mid-day, someone I went to high school posted a facebook status along the lines of "If you are stressed out about Christmas, you're missing the whole point of the glorious holiday season!"  Um, excuse me, but eff you. 

I mean really.  I'm not stressed out because I'm overly materialistic, or because I'm trying to get the $14.99 diamond tennis bracelet even though I have no one to give it to just because it's on sale, and how dare that lady buy the last one.  I'm not stressed out because I think that the youngest one deserves or is somehow entitled to a Robosapien even though there will be 100,000 other presents under the tree.  And frankly, I resent just a bit the stay-at-home mom who spends the holiday season baking cookies and shopping while the rest of us are at work so that she is done the first week of December, and only has one child, then has the gall to act all superior about it.  It's not that I don't think that the cookie baking and time with children is important.  I do.  In fact, one of my goals for 2011 is to have more of that.

It's that those things are important, and I have to do them while working full time.  This season, more than any other, is when being a stay-at-home mom is a full time job, especially with three kids.  I am not stressed out because I'm trampling people to get the best deal at Walmart.  I'm stressed out because my parents are coming to visit, and Kathy's mom is coming to visit, and I think it's important for kids that Christmas is somewhat magical and different.  I think they deserve a tree, which takes a full day to set up (Kathy was right!).  I'm stressed out because my family makes fondue every year on Christmas Eve, and that is a really labor-intensive process.  And it's great if someone can sail through the holidays with peace and joy and a minimum of stress.  Hooray for you. But I can't.

So yes, I am stressed out about getting the Robosapien.  But that is because it is the only thing the poor kid asked Santa for.  And if you think I am being psychotic about the Robosapien, then you go explain to a small child why they didn't get it, and you answer the questions about why Santa likes the siblings more, and you think up a response to "Was I bad this year?" that a five year old can understand.  But I'm not prepared to ruin Santa because I was too busy working to get the freaking Robosapien. 

So.  Why am I stressed out?  Because I value the magic of Santa, and time together with family that lives far away, and carrying on holiday traditions from my childhood.  And actually, I don't think I've missed the point of the holiday season at all.  In fact, I think I've got it exactly right.

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