I have holiday hangover. We got back from Iowa yesterday and spent the day frantically searching for spots to stick more large plastic toys. We now have a Euro kitchen for the little angel growing off our microwave stand. I've resorted to using mixing bowls to hold the Polly Pockets and Disney Princess shoes, which are sure to work their way deep into the loops of my living room rug. This morning I took a big sack of toys to The Emerald City, and I'm hoping the little angel will not notice their absence. I asked my mother if she ever stole my toys to give away, and she assured me that she did, that all mothers do. If they didn't, we wouldn't be able to walk by the time our children are five. I hope she's right; I feel sort of dirty for doing it. But seriously. The toys. We could pave a path to China with the toys.
I was talking to my mom on the phone today on the way to work, and we discussed the ambivalence of holiday togetherness. I always leave feeling like I haven't spent nearly enough time, but also thinking if I didn't get my own bed and my own space back soon I might just have to up my dosage. She said she felt the same way, and I know in many ways hosting is more difficult than being hosted, what with all the food prep and messes and trashing of one's carpet and such. Holiday togetherness is God's way of reassuring us we did the right thing by moving out.
So it was with ambivalence that I returned to my daily life today, dropping off the little angel with the two friends that were at The Emerald City and heading back to my day job. Every year after Christmas, I find myself thinking about where I was in my life on the Christmas prior and wondering how things will be different at this time next year. I read a great post over at Mommytrackd about looking forward yesterday, and I found myself turning it over and over in my head as I drove in.
I often find myself marveling that this time is the little angel's childhood, that these are the memories she will have. I, in my freakiness, also tend to turn it into, "Oh my God, the poor thing, this is ALL SHE GETS AND I AM DOING IT WRONG," but as Risa Green points out in her post, it is much easier to summon patience with a crying two-year-old when you realize the child will not always need or want your hugs, your kisses of boo boos, or your daily presence. In even ten Christmases, things will be much, much, much different.
This morning while I was getting ready for work, I was reading an article in Entertainment Weekly about the original lyrics of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Originally the song, which was apparently sung by Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis, had horribly depressing lyrics, including "Have yourself a merry little Christmas/It may be your last."
Thank God they changed the lyrics, eh? Apparently everyone thought they were too damn depressing, but hey, the holidays are a little depressing, aren't they? They never turn out quite like you wanted them to, and they last too long or not long enough, and you try to cram so much joy into such a short period of time that is also affected by travel and too much sugar and alcohol and crying toddlers. It is natural to be ambivalent about holidays, about toddlers, about family. Just because something makes you happy doesn't mean it will never make you sad. God, that's a hard concept.