Three weeks from today, my family and I will be gathered around my parents' kitchen table, enjoying a relaxing evening. There will be wine, spiced rum, lots of food, and - if past years are any indication - very little drama. The only thing is that I have twenty-one short days to get my act together.
I have some Christmas presents purchased, but there's still a lot of money to be spent. Because we aren't hosting anything at our place I don't have to worry about baking or planning a menu THANK GOD! By the end of tonight, I will have at least ordered our Christmas cards. Hopefully they will arrive here in time for me to actually send them before the holidays. Considering that I have been carrying around my dad's birthday card in my bag for the last week and still haven't managed to send it (his birthday was Nov. 27), I'm not holding my breath.
But what's been really fun this year is seeing both kids really get into the magic that defines the season. This year, they both kind of get it. (I say "kind of" because today we put up the tree and Gavin went to bed right away because "When I go to sleep Santa will come, right Mom?" Sigh.) They had fun hanging decorations and playing with the nativity set. And of course, there are the daily threats to call Santa Claus that have now morphed into the daily reminders that The Elf on the Shelf is watching everything.
Five years ago Christmas was really the culmination of the most horrible Fall I'd ever had. A failed IVF followed by random pregnancy followed by miscarriage - all within two months - was a bit much to take. I had my last doctor's appointment on Dec. 22. On Christmas Day my sister and I went to visit our uncle who was in palliative care in the hospital, dying from cancer. He passed away on New Year's Day. Of course, a year later Murray and I were expecting our first child within days and life looked a lot brighter. Still, the despair of those months is never far away and I'm grateful for that, because it means that I'm always reminding myself just how blessed we are.
I am sure that at some point between now and Christmas morning I will have a total freak out about how the number of things that need to get done far outweigh the time that there is do them in. However, every time I feel the stress coming on I hear Mia say, "Wow." when she opens up her presents from Santa or hear the excitement in Gavin's voice on Christmas morning, and I know that all of the preparations, all of the madness, is totally worth it.