Every year, without fail, the following conversation occurs between BFF and I- some time between January 2nd and January 4th:
And then the light bulb goes off and the heavens part and I realize I know exactly how this happened. Two simple words: CHRISTMAS VACATION
This happens every year during Christmas Vacation. (Yes, I’m calling it that. I will NOT call it Winter Break or Holiday Vacation. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, good on you. But I do. And so do most people. And even if they didn’t, what I call these 2 weeks should have no impact on how you feel unless I call them I Hate You and Your Other Holiday Practices and I Am Going to Do Evil Things to You Because You Don’t Agree With Me! Then, you can freak out about what I call this break from school.)
I digress… Politically Correct holiday names aside, it is the evils of these school-free two weeks that send our households into a frenzy. And I’m beginning to think that my kids know exactly what they’re doing. It’s not like they begin to act up the second school’s out. No, it’s a gradual thing. Little by little, as the days pass the sweetness and light begin to seep out of them. It’s almost undetectable. They are like Poor Behavior Ninjas. It’s an eye roll here, some talking back there and toys strategically shoved under the bed without my noticing. And like the frog who has no idea he is being boiled alive because the stove is set on low although still climbing toward 212 degrees F, I am completely unaware that things are slowly unraveling- until the Christmas Crap hits the fan and I totally and completely lose my mind.
You’d think I would know this by now. The conversation happens every year. Every. Year. In fact, every year I say to BFF, “We need to remember this next year when we are losing our minds in the beginning of January.” We both laugh and move on, only to be carpooling to the insane asylum 12 months later.
Now I take full responsibility for my role in this madness. Like most people, I love vacation. I’m sure part of it is because I was a teacher for 10 years and Christmas Vacation is like “time off” for me. And another part is because I’m totally caught up in the holiday spirit and over decorating my home so I’m probably not as vigilant as usual. But I truly believe the main reason the wheels come off the bus during school breaks is because I am a mom. A mom of two young boys who play sports and have homework and are extremely active. A mom who is conscious of the food they put in their mouth, the things they watch on t.v., the amount of sleep they get, the number of fruits and vegetables they consume, energy they expend, prayers they recite, church services they attend, daily hands-on real life lessons about kindness and patience they encounter, and the list goes on and on.
And so, for to freaking weeks I just want to relax and have fun. I want them to eat too much candy and stay up too late. I want brother sleepovers on the air mattress in the loft. I want excessive t.v. and 3 play dates in a 24 hour period. I want the neighborhood kids and friends over destroying my house while making cookies and shooting each other with Nerf guns. I wants talks of Santa and reindeer and the true meaning of Christmas. I want claymation cartoons and Veggie Tales movies about Saint Nick. I want to dance through the house listening to Christmas music on Pandora. I want a Christmas Vacation too! I want the sights, sounds, smells and feelings of Christmas.
And so bedtime gets pushed by 15 minutes one night, 30 minutes another, and thrown out the window more often then I care to count. But that’s OK, right? It’s Christmas Vacation. We have hot chocolate with 10,000 mini marshmallows for breakfast. But that’s OK, right? It’s Christmas Vacation. We make 15 dozen sugar cookies and decorate them with frosting and sprinkles that we lick off our fingers until we have “sweater teeth.” But that’s OK, right? It’s Christmas Vacation. We plan to clean our rooms tomorrow, do our chores later and take a nap eventually. All because it’s Christmas Vacation and we’re celebrating! I let the attitude slide because “they’re just tired.” I let the unkind words slip in because “they’ve just had too much sugar.” And I ask them to do something 15 times instead of once because “they’re just out of their routines.” It’s Christmas vacation and we’re celebrating, remember?
Let me tell you, by December 26th, Mama ain’t celebrating. She’s raising Holy Hell because she has found yet another wad of cookie frosting smeared into the carpet, and some one’s gonna lose a limb. And the new DS game that DS1 had to have was left laying around again so I’m going to throw it in the trash! And DS2 hasn’t cleaned his room by the 10th time I asked, and he’s gonna move into the shed out back! And all these gifts tossed haphazardly around the tree? They’re going to be sent to Africa, to kids who will appreciate them!
The house is a mess, no one is listening, everyone is over tired and experiencing what can only be called gastrointestinal discomfort of epic proportions and the “celebrating” is over. Our home has become an insane asylum and the head nurse is about to start cracking skulls!
This is me on December 26th. I’m serious. Ask Hubs. Better yet, ask my kids. My eyes actually get that big and round, I swear!
But, alas, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The first week of January is just over the hill. If we just keep swimming, keep swimming, keep swimming… we will make it. The glorious sound of my alarm blaring at 6 a.m. on the first day back to school sounds much like a gospel choir singing about the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. School is back in session. Order has been restored to the kingdom and peace will blanket our land once again.
For 5 and a half months. And then it’s summer. And summer is a hell of a lot longer than the two weeks of Christmas Vacation.
As of today, we have officially been on summer vacation since May 25th in our house- yes, you heard me correctly. May twen-ty-freaking-fifth! We are 42 days into summer and the inmates have officially taken over. Yet again. You’d think I’d know by now, right? God help me. Guess it’s time to call BFF.
I think I might fly over the cuckoo’s nest…
That’s just my normal.