November 2008

Exhausted...but blessed.

Author: Mary Frances | Photographer: Mine Studios

This is a busy time of year in our household. It begins with my husband’s birthday, followed by Halloween, then my son’s birthday followed by Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year and finally it ends with my daughter’s birthday. For basically 9 weeks we are slammed with celebrations and hoopla! You would think that I know these things are on the schedule and I could shop ahead and be prepared and not even be phased by it.

No, I do it the hard way. I get through one, breathe and then realize that the next one is already upon us. So, here I am typing and thinking about this crazy schedule and it brings me to a huge realization. Moms make their own lives hard. And while I am on that subject why is it that the moms do all this? Would the dad do it if the mom said she was not doing it? I am afraid to lump all men into this category but I think that they would not do it. I have friends who at a young age lost their mom to cancer. And they knew that their dad loved them tremendously but all celebrations were never the same. The tree at Christmas was last minute and there were no other decorations. Presents were never wrapped and as they grew older it became cash. No halloween decorations, maybe a pumpkin, Easter baskets? What are those? My point is that men and women take it to the extreme. I could scale back and he could step it up.

In our household my husband is the first to say “Let’s get the tree!”
Then as soon as he has expressed his opinion on how big it should be and how much money we are going to spend on it then finally we agree on a tree. The kids are spastic with glee and we tie it to the roof of the car and head home. Then the fun begins the next night. We soak our tree for 24hrs. Why? I don’t know and neither does my husband. It is something probably made up by a lazy dad who was tired after selecting a tree and tying it to his car and dragging it inside and he wanted the whole thing to be over so he made up a story about how a tree needs to soak for 24hrs before doing anything else to it. And therefore, an urban legend was born. It has been passed from one procrastinating dad to another for many, many years. What does it mean for me? Well, I now have two kids who are so beside themselves with excitement and bouncing off the walls and they have to wait.

Okay, back to the fun part. While no one is around I have to put the lights on the tree. All alone. No help. I do get the occasional, “Honey did you check the lights before putting them on the tree?”

Decoration night we have a special family dinner and then we all get
ready to decorate the tree. I put on holiday music. We turn on the
tree lights and then chaos begins. I love it. The kids hang everything at their eye level and all on the same 6 branches. And I love it. I do not move them. It makes me laugh and it makes me know how quickly this time will pass. After about 20 minutes my husband will disappear. He has had enough. Another 20 minutes and my son will stop hanging stuff and will talk about each ornament. My daughter will go the distance. It is in her DNA. She is a girl and is learning at my feet to over-do it, make the memories, set the scene, and delight in making it something special. She will want to help decorate the whole house as well. Last year she made an arrangement of santas on the bottom step of the stairs. I actually stepped over them for 2 days before I moved them.

Even though for 9 weeks we are very busy it is part of what makes being a mom such a blessing. I get to make memories for our family.

One day my kids will be all grown up and tell the story of how that huge gauge in the ceiling happened when dad bought a christmas tree that was too tall. Or the time the Halloween display started smoking and almost lit the hay bail on fire. Or maybe they will talk about the time I let them decorate their own rooms with spiderweb gauze during halloween and they could not even get in their beds.

Maybe they will talk about about the time Mom had a huge Thanksgiving dinner and set all the tables outside with all the linens, candles, china, and silver and right as we were bringing out the dinner the sky opened and it started pouring. Perhaps it is looking back on the special occasions and recognizing that we are jinxed and something crazy always happens and we get such a great laugh. If I did not go over-board it would just be another ordinary day. So, if you see me in January and I look exhausted it is because I am.

But I am still very blessed.

Mary Frances

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