Admitting my years in age are increasing, instead of the opposite — which would be more appealing — I have noticed the hard drive that sits firmly above my shoulders seems to be full most of the time.
Like my computer, when storage is nearing maximum capacity the operating system slows down. This was my brain in 2012.
The holidays typically are a time for enjoying family, passing down traditions, completing a complicated puzzle or perhaps downing that box of wine you’ve been saving for a fancy puzzle.
However, I somehow I washed over that frivolity this year and I don’t think I was alone in that feeling. In the last few months, so much anger and hatred had reared its head across the world and its horrific force consumed even the most chipper and positive thinkers.
This winter holiday I had lost my umph, my festive tree-topper attitude. I didn’t take advantage of tormenting my children with all the verses of every Christmas song like I normally do. I didn’t bake my traditional cookies for neighbors or friends. Our Christmas cards were generic and boring for the first and last time, I promise. I didn’t even curl up to watch my favorite Christmas movies with the kids. Bad mommy? No. Sad mommy is closer.
“Blue Christmas” lyrics seemed to be mocking me at each turn, so I needed to find the antidote to this cultural plague, for the health of my family and myself.
De-cluttering the house was step one in finding the carpet. It was calming to see amber waves of plush pile beneath the myriad plastic parts that only a year before resembled workable toys. Not only did I carry out trash bags of paper, fill the recycling bin with flattened boxes and, with my head dropped, add to the Styrofoam landfill “Forever There” program. I also dumped a truckload of our old pink and purple toys off at Goodwill, making room for new, shiny pink and purple toys. Somehow that made room in my ribcage for me to breathe again.
Then in the midst of a semi-clean (I have children, I’m not going to lie about the condition) yet OSHA-safe home, I found the key to my newfound serenity of 2013! It came in the form of a list my 7-year-old daughter composed sometime during winter break. It’s what broke the Blue Christmas Camel’s back.
My daughter was elated to have a sleepover with her grandparents. She always is. Both sets of grandparents bring great joy to my girls. This time, she decided to create a list. Of course it was meticulously illustrated, like all award-wining lists are. It was stunning! We should have framed it.
What we will do at Grammy and Pops’s sleepover:
• Pillow fight
• Eat pizza
• Act out story of Peter Pan
• Make a gingerbread house
• Dress Pops up like a girl
According to my children, not all of the bullet points were performed that night. When asking my parents about the list and whether all activities were enjoyed, for some reason, the details were evaded.
The night of the Grammy and Pops sleepover — I don’t know if I will ever know exactly what happened. But I do know the list made me laugh until I reclaimed my super-chipper attitude.