Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas past

After all the angst, the sighing, moaning, complaining and becoming unglued, I'm finally over Christmas. It ended all too soon.

This was our first Christmas without Santa, and I have to say, it wasn't cheap. Where Earbaby presumed that Santa was the benefactor of all the expensive toys, the revelation of his being a legend didn't dampen her enthusiasm for the new and improved (and pricey) items on her list. She even managed to get two pairs of neon green shoes from us. He got one pair that she couldn't-live-without-I-won't-ask-for-anything-else and I got the other this-are-just-sick-I-love-them-I-just-want-these-please. Luckily one pair is high-top, the other low, so they're not identical. Her father and I only discovered each other's purchases on Christmas Eve, when I set mine out and mentioned them. Apparently he and I don't talk much.

And that's really funny about EB's dad and I. While she's gotten more adept at working the room with getting what she wants from one of us or the other, he and I are still on the low end of the bell curve with discovering her shenanigans.

More about that later. Back to Christmas.

Now other than the fact that I will be anxiously watching the mailbox and counting my pennies for the next couple of months to catch up with my free-wheeling spending, I have to say, Christmas is probably my favorite holiday, which is strange, because it causes me the most angst. Thanksgiving is great. Everyone is like the grasshoppers in A Bug's Life, "they come, they eat, they leave." And since I don't host this holiday, I just show up with a side dish and a dessert or two and leave the complaining to others. Easter is much the same, other than having to come up with an Easter basket, and that isn't even that tough anymore now that the myth of the Easter Bunny left town with St. Nick and the Tooth Fairy.

With less than a week to go before Christmas, I still hadn't put up my tree, addressed a Christmas card and only just communicated with the caterer. The house was a complete disaster (even more so than usual) and I had no time to do anything. Yet it all got done. Another Christmas miracle (which means, don't look under any beds or tables or suddenly open any closet doors!) was accomplished. I didn't assault any family member, even though both of my favorite people parked in front of the television and told me to calm down and not get stressed as I put up a nine-row artificial tree by myself. Again. And moved the furniture around to make room for everything and everybody by myself. Again. OK, EB did help me move the couch one day. And finally, after many requests (i.e, nagging), my beloved husband put the decorations on the tree about three days before Christmas.

And I wrapped gifts, bought gifts, returned and exchanged gifts, and picked up the food from the caterer's while maintaining my usual Christmas demeanor of a screaming mimi. My Christmas wish? To return to my house without carrying a ton of shopping bags. Still waiting for that one to come true.

And everyone had a good time. A colleague from work was invited to our party and she showed up and had a nice meal. We had Christmas Eve and Christmas Day church service. And by 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 25, with the guests all gone and the first load of dishes in the dishwasher, EB looked at us and said, "I can't believe it's all over!"

Family gatherings are fun for me. Since none of my family is here, I get the pleasure of my in-laws, all truly fine people who love each other and get along well. That's a Christmas blessing in itself. And even though my husband whines about us hosting the holiday, he always thanks me and gives me credit. Since we didn't really have extended family celebrations much when I was growing up, this is the gift I'm giving to my daughter too. As an only child, she needs to have the closeness of cousins that I missed out on at her age.

Now about those shenanigans.

Earbaby sometimes gets tired of being said only child. And since she had a 10-day Christmas break, after the holiday festivities, she quickly got bored. She lobbied for sleepovers (she got one with one of her cousins, and we all went out to dinner and the Muppet movie and had a great time), and get-togethers with friends from her old school and from her new. She managed to finagle her way to a bowling outing when she called two friends, invited them, then offered up her sacrificial chaperone (me) for pickup services.

A half an hour before I was due at work, EB told me her father said he would take them bowling if I drove them to meet him at the office. It makes sense, the  bowling alley is on that side of town. However I had to drive in the opposite direction to get the friends. But I went to get them, grumbling the whole time about how my husband was inconveniencing me to keep from making an extra trip himself, even though it meant I would be late to work.

Well, after he and I talked, what I was told wasn't the exact truth. He said he told EB he wasn't going to come home and go all the way back. She filled in the rest of the arrangements on her own. She just left out the detail that it was her decision to send me all over hither and yon and not his.

Like I said, she's full of shenanigans. And my husband and I really are going to have to start talking more.

I'm glad the Christmas break is over. Can't wait for it to all come around again.

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