I wake up this morning early with a little tremor in my brain. It’s Christmas Eve and there’s a lot to do.
I duck out of the house as soon as I wake up, without even a cup of coffee. I head to Whole Foods to get food for Christmas Day and the weekend. I’m alone so this is AWESOME.
I start by getting some eggs from the breakfast bar. Eggs are among my favorite foods, but Jesse’s allergy means a strictly egg-free house. So I sneak them whenever I can. Today’s Whole Foods eggs are, unfortunately, rubbery. Don’t I deserve tasty eggs today? Is that too much to ask? Bah.
I get everything I need, and I even bump into a couple mommy buddies and chit-chat a little. But I can’t really enjoy the conversations as much as I’d like. In the back of my mind I’m counting the hours I have (OCD style, over and over again) to accomplish everything on the menu today, and I’m subtracting the minutes I’m losing as I indulge in pleasant conversations with people I wish I could actually spend some relaxing time with. Bah.
From Whole Foods, I drive to Michaels to pick up art supplies for Nick’s gift and some stocking stuffers. Nothing I want is on sale. There are sale signs everywhere. Everything in Michaels is on sale today except for the fourteen items I buy. Bah.
While I’m in Michaels, Jesse calls me to ask if we’re going to finally get our outdoor lights up today. Otherwise Santa won’t find our home. I ask her to put Daddy on the phone. I ask Anthony if we can get the lights up. “We’ll have to see,” he answers grimly, “we’re cleaning the house right now.” Bah.
I feel completely grinched and also I feel a familiar incoherent rage seething up inside me. By the time I get home, it’s a roiling little sun burning in my head. I don’t even remember much about what goes down, but it climaxes in me yelling at Anthony about being grinched. Even as I blow, Jesse and Nick begin mocking me, silently mimicking my gesticulations and jawing. I don’t look at them because apparently I’m enjoying my wrath and I don’t want to laugh. Instead I march into the bathroom as I holler about how Anthony never-ever-ever apologizes to me for anything. EVER. By now everyone knows I’m a ridiculous human being. My raging sun fizzles out as I hear Jesse and Anthony laughing at me while I pee.
Everyone makes nice after that, and much kissing and snuggling ensues. I head out again with Nick to shop for gifts for Jesse and Dad. He already knows what he wants to get them. First stop, Trader Joes. Nick wants to get Anthony the GIANT bar of chocolate, mommy it’s GIANT and the biggest chocolate ever and I know daddy will love it and maybe he will share it with me.
We go to Toys R Us next for a little robot Nick wants to get Jesse. As we walk through the parking lot, Nick orders me to STOP. He’s spotted a huge flock of seagulls on the wing. He watches them, frozen and mesmerized, for a good two minutes. I’m patient, because I’m enthralled by my child, who gives wild seagulls priority over a toy store.
We finally walk into the shop. We find what Nick wants in two minutes and then spend 25 minutes waiting in line, next to all the little candy products. Mixed in with them innocuously are some small Advil containers. I point them out to Nick. “Why do you think they sell medicine here for grownups who are having headaches?”
Nick doesn’t even have to think. He starts to fondle the candy choices. “Because of this, mommy. Can I have this? Can I have that? What’s this? What’s this? What’s this? Can I have this?”
We turn on the radio as we drive home. “Feliz navidad” is playing and I start to bellow along. Nick speaks plaintively from the back seat. “Mommy please stop. Can we turn off this song?”
“Why? You don’t like it?”
“Nooo… I just don’t want to think about you dying right now.”
“Nick, what are you talking about? It’s a Christmas song!”
“Then why does he keep singing ‘at least mommy died’?”
When we get home, Anthony has finished setting up our outside lights before taking off with Jesse for some more shopping. My eyeballs turn into pink puffy hearts. It’s a zero-bah moment.
Nick starts watching Pocahontas II, which I can’t possibly understand, but then I remember the bike shop closes early and we have to go get Jesse’s ninja bike. Nick grumbles his own “BAH” but comes along anyway. We rush home to hide the bike and he settles back into his movie.
Life moves smoothly from there, and even Jesse’s occasional penis moments don’t ruin things. I make a cranberry walnut quick bread, and Korean spicy chicken stew for dinner. The kids seem remarkably calm as the evening winds down. But then suddenly and inexplicably, Nick comes to realize that Santa is coming TONIGHT, not tomorrow, and he goes berserk.
We heat up mince pies for the ‘rents and Santa, hang the stockings, and try to watch White Christmas. As Rosemary Clooney and her sister sing their duet, the kids embellish with random comments and a variety of wiggling and fussing.
But no matter. It’s Christmas Eve, so it’s time to celebrate the gift of children — of my children.
So here’s my Christmas wish for me and you: may your day be merry and joyful, with unrelenting giving and the laughter of children (no worries if you don’t have any with you — laugh like a child and that counts). May you have the opportunity to eat way too much food. And may your heart be bah-free for 24 hours.
Or at least 12. Don’t tax yourself too much. It’s the holidays.