I LOVE Christmas. I love the traditions, the stories, the movies and the carols. I love tagging my Christmas tree at Henry’s Tree Farm in mid-October, and then when picking it up the weekend after Thanksgiving, buying a new ornament and having some hot apple cider at the little shop. I love decorating the house and tree and unpacking years of ornaments from my childhood, including one of my most special ones, a sled made out of popsicle sticks. Because that one I made with my mom. I love visiting my Memere’s on Christmas Eve and getting to see relatives that I hardly ever see, and pig out on her stash of junk food. And I like spoiling those I love with gifts and with home cooking.
But this year, none of the special stuff really happened. And it wasn’t until this morning, on Christmas Eve, that I just wasn’t up for Christmas this year.
A lot of stuff did get done. And there was excitement. The Christmas village was set up a few days after Halloween. I made the twins ‘First Christmas’ handprints, and created snowflake and wreath crafts with the girls. We bought and set up a skinny fake tree (the first time in my life I have ever had a fake tree) to tuck into the corner of our dining room. Only a few special ornaments made it out, though. And we put lights up on our fence outside, and sent out Christmas cards with the girls’ picture with Santa.
Some things we just ran out of time or money for. I had wanted to visit La Salette Shrine to see the lights with the girls, or take the Polar Express. I had wanted to visit Henry’s if only to pick out a fresh balsam kissing ball or wreath, and to take pictures of the twins in the sleigh for their first Christmas.
But here I am, sitting alone on the couch at 7:03pm on Christmas Eve. I have Cornish game hens soaking in a brine in the fridge. My recipes and spices are all arranged on the kitchen counter for breakfast with my family and dinner with my husband’s. I have the gifts set up in the living room, ready for the morning, and the girls’ outfits laid out.
But I’m just sad.
The girls all have one gift stacked in the corner. The twins will each get their own Care Bear, and Evie is getting a train set. We have stockings up, and the twins have a couple of things bought months ago and just never given. Evie’s is empty.
It’s true that they don’t need anything. They have plenty of toys, most of which are hand me downs that they love. Our house is small and really can’t take much else. They also have plenty of clothes. Despite knowing that the girls don’t really want for anything, I feel terrible that we couldn’t really do more. I’m not saying that we are so broke that all we could afford were $20 gifts for our children. But we chose to still buy gifts for our close family members. And we chose to splurge on items for a delicious Christmas dinner. And we chose not to spend every last drop of money because it’s vacation week and we may want to go out or see a movie. Plus, our awesome town likes to send the fire tax bill in December.
But I would have loved to buy Evie a climbing dome for the backyard. A set of small sleds with harnesses would have been perfect for a nice snowfall. A pair of double-bladed skates for Evie so I could take her to the rink would’ve been so neat. I would have loved to sign all three up for swim lessons for January. It would’ve been great to have been able to get Evie those sparkly silver boots from Target since her brown fringe boots are getting too small.
I would have loved to buy my husband a Christmas present. Like a really nice one. But all I managed was a few stocking stuffers. And funny story, one bag went missing so he literally has two things to open in his stocking. When you’re not making any money, shopping for the person that does is a little difficult.
Everything just sort of escalated slowly. No real tree. No real presents. Evie is really sick. Aria is just starting. And I’m sure it will hit Ella tomorrow. We didn’t get to make all the visits we wanted to because the girls weren’t really up to it. And while I’m thankful that all of tomorrow’s festivities are here, I still don’t know how the girls will be. I mean all Evie does (when she’s not drugged) is cry and say Pooh. So we’ve been watching Winnie the Pooh movies now for four days. And after a huge struggle to find a Pooh stuffed animal, we located one, and she doesn’t even care. And Aria, well apparently she gets mean when she’s sick. She just starts yelling and flailing when she decides she doesn’t want to eat or drink anything else.
I’m missing my mom like crazy, as is the case every holiday. Well to be honest, most of the time. But it’s just harder this time of year. My two best friends, who had the audacity to move away from me, I also miss like crazy.
And my husband, the amazing man that he is, is gone for two masses tonight, and two tomorrow morning. We aren’t in a place financially where we would give up his paying gigs, but it’s not very special to spend Christmas Eve night mostly alone on the couch. Or knowing that tomorrow he will miss breakfast and gifts with my siblings and father. It’s better off I guess. Because in terms of gifts, they really just treat him as an extension of me. So basically he gets to share in some gift cards. Maybe someday one of them will actually give him a birthday card! One can only hope. At least his family is thoughtful enough to treat me as an individual.
I know I should suck it up and quit complaining. Because some really awesome people I know are having some really tough times right now.
At least the girls are too young to remember the rainy Christmas when they were all sick and mommy was depressed because nothing was going right.