We love being home for the holidays. But for that to happen, lots of other things have to happen that may or may not be so fun. Let me break it down for you just in case you were curious.
The first week of December: everything is so exciting. Your husband lets you start playing Christmas music on Pandora, Hobby Lobby is finally justified in their Christmas decor, suddenly snow is exciting instead of annoying, your OCD friend that always has all their Christmas shopping done by August sends you an early gift, the Hallmark channel starts playing cheesy Christmas movies around the clock, the rednecks bust out their Christmas lights on the grills of their trucks and the car reindeer antlers make their appearance. What a festive week!
Second week of December: You notice your neighbor’s yard is decked out and you still have your rotting pumpkins on your front porch, so you forge your way through your attic chaos to find your dusty tub of Christmas decorations. And this is where it all starts.
You remember that last year you were exhausted by the time you took your tree down and now you will pay for your laziness. Half the ornaments are missing their hooks and the lights will take approximately 4.7 hours to untangle. Three hours into your untangling you realize you haven’t plugged any of them in yet at which time you discover that five of the seven strands don’t work. You now have two options. You can spend another seven hours examining all the little bulbs to try to figure out which single light is the culprit for sabotaging the rest of the string, or you can chuck the whole thing.
Next comes the dreaded packing. It’s a rule- the longer you think about how much you need to get packed the longer you get stuck in what I call “packing paralysis,” where one stands in front of their closet and stares blankly into the abyss as panic begins to set in. Three hours later your suitcase is still empty, and you’re lying in your bed staring at the ceiling. When you finally manage to get some clothes in your bag, you turn around to find your baby happily unpacking your bag for you.
The airport is your next little adventure. Traveling during the holidays is possibly the worst idea that exists. But we all do it and we all pick the same day to do it on. The flight board is all green except for one red delayed flight which of course is yours. Your baby is screaming because she’s not at home in her bed for nap and every minute feels like an eternity. Every other gate seems to be boarding and getting to their destination but the departure time on your board keeps moving further and further back. Your baby is at the “I want to be on the floor eating everything” stage and you feel like you just ran a marathon from chasing her around desperately trying to keep her from climbing your neighbors legs.
The agents are offering free round trip tickets to anywhere in the continental USA to anyone who offers to give up their seats and all you can think of is how you might shoot yourself in the face if you had to do that. The young childless couple next to you excitedly accepts the deal and you reminisce on the good ol’ days of spontaneity as your baby brings you back to reality with a nice rumble in her diaper... good thing you just changed her 5 minutes ago and smelled up the whole restroom with her dirty diaper already.
When your plane finally arrives, the agents offer pre-boarding for anyone with children which initially sounds like a perk…but really it’s just an extra 20 minutes of torture of inventing ways to entertain your over-tired baby whose attempts to dive off your lap into the aisle are about to succeed. As you wrangle your baby back into your lap and pick up the toy she's dropped on the floor for the 19th time in 5 minutes you notice that boarding passengers are looking in your direction then double checking their seating assignments with that "oh crap I hope I'm not next to them" look. I could write a book about all the methods you use to keep a baby content for a three hour plane ride, but I’ll save that for another day. I’m getting stressed out just thinking about it right now.
You’ve finally arrived at your destination… you’re home for the holidays! To preserve your sanity you pretend like you don’t have to do the whole thing again in a week. Your first night of sleep (or lack of) you remember why you love your mattress at home so much and three days later you remember why 25 people aren’t supposed to live in one house together.
Then the inevitable happens. Someone had the flu or a cold and kindly shares it with everyone (that was us, FYI). And now you all feel like death. Snot flows freely and the tissue mountains multiply.
And that’s where we’re at right now. Recovering from the flu and all out of wack. A week ago Ellia had a “schedule” for naps and bedtime. At this point I don’t know what a schedule is and clearly neither does she. She’s been held and played with all week so we’ll be starting “grandma rehab” in a couple days (if we survive the trip back home), at which point I’ll be ripping down all my Christmas decorations and throwing them in their trusty tub like I do every year.
All this to say; I love my crazy family so much that it’s all worth it. And we’ll be doing it all again next year. See you next year flu.