Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shelving the Saint

This is my Christmas season theme this year:

Credit: lilblueboo.com

Now before you call Intervention, let me explain.  This isn't going to be a drunken pirate party for the next 30 days.  Although, I can't promise there won't be a nip here or there.  What I am proposing is to turn Christmas on its head, to keep some traditions, to dismiss a few, and to start new ones as well.

For instance, this whole Elf on the Shelf thing is fired.  I jumped on the bandwagon right away, in its infancy, when I was gifted with one of the first for my kids.  I actually know the Elf Creator - we were in The Sound of Music together - and although I sincerely wish I could support her demon spawn - it is way too stressful.  Just TRY to forget to move the Elf one morning, and see how your child's faith in humanity completely unravels.  I've had it.  Sleep is too important. So, this year, John Spyee is going all "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and we're getting super creative with his antics, like marshmallow poops in the toilet and such.  That'll cure that fairy tale.

But don't Bah Humbug me!  One tradition that I am insisting on keeping is the fake Christmas tree. It has been in my family for over 30 years, and we need it because both my son and I are allergic.  It is missing a section and is shedding plastic leaves.  But it's ours and I am going to bling it up, despite the kids' protests.

Here is the before:

Just wait for the fabulous after!

The final item is what I am calling the Co-op Christmas.  This is inspired by our most recent Thanksgiving.  I can't remember a holiday I have enjoyed more - even my husband remarked on how he'd never seen me so not stressed.  For starters, Child #1, who has been sick for so long, is in recovery.  After some very invasive testing, we have a diagnosis, and good medicine, and even an amazing personal trainer.  It has been a complete, blessed 180 - my child is back and it is joyful to see that quirky, crazy personality come shining through.  So, I was automatically more thankful and happy. 

But that wasn't all.  I then rented the neighborhood clubhouse, invited both sides of the family (thereby ensuring only one meal - my husband and I used to have to eat THREE in our early days of marriage) and everyone pitched in.  From table decorations to glassware to side dishes, everything was covered.  I cooked two casseroles and some dip, my husband handled the turkey, and that was it.  Heavenly.

They only said I couldn't post this on Facebook

This Christmas will be no different.  I am again going to ask for help, for everyone to pitch in just as before, and make it a collaborative holiday.  I don't mind bringing out the china and serving the big meal, but I know now that I don't have to cook it all, host it all, or even clean it all up afterwards.  I don't have to do it all - and to be truthful, I don't WANT to anymore. If there is one thing I have learned in 40 years, it is that martyrdom doesn't equal sainthood.  And that memories are made not in sacrifice, but in sharing.

With that proclamation, I wish you all a Happy Holiday season.  I intend to make my home a veritable explosion of lights, decorations, and joy.  This year, it's about love and not chores.  It's about thankfulness, and not regret.  And it's about time.

Until next time, keep crowin'!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

If It Weren't For Bad Luck

When my kids were younger and having a fussy day, I would sing them a little song I made up, inspired by  "O Sole Mio."

Oh, woe is me, poo-poo and pee-pee.  I'm angry, I'm cranky, wah WAH wahwah .....

They hated it and would usually get quiet so I would stop.

There is another song that I liked to sing when things were in the toilet. You may remember it from that golden oldie, "Hee Haw":

I've been singing my downtrodden spirituals lately, as the hits keep coming my family's way.  Not to complain, but here is what transpired in the last 24 hours:

  • Failed attempt at sports team tryouts due to Child #1's continued illness, which resulted in mental breakdown
  • Tooth fell out of my mouth while eating a Starburst
  • Child #2 found out there is no Santa
  • Boss e-mailed me at 8:45 p.m. telling me to meet her at 9:15 a.m. the next morning for a meeting.  I rearranged my schedule, found our newly relocated office and the pay-exact-change-only parking lot, found a gas station with an ATM, returned to parking lot, set off emergency exit alarm in building, and then welcomed my boss when she arrived at the office at 10:00 a.m.

And so on, and so on ...  It's been awesome.

But life has a way of reminding you to put your big girl panties on.  I delivered a carload of donated food to an elementary school yesterday, tucked away among trailer parks and run-down apartments.  The Assistant Principal told me it would be some of the only food his students ate over the Thanksgiving break.

At least we have food on the table.

Today at the grocery store, a disfigured woman in a wheelchair asked me to reach the butter for her.

At least we have bodies that work.

I put out an SOS earlier, and received nothing but love and support.

At least we have our family and friends.

There are people up north who lost all their possessions, and many lost loved ones in Hurricane Sandy.

At least we are safe with a roof over our heads.

Things aren't always going to go our way, or be fair, or be fun.  But they could always be worse.  And so, I will switch stations, and try to enjoy a little Bob Marley instead:

Until next time, keep crowin' - it's going to be OK.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Greatest Hits

A good rule of thumb for any blog is to update it regularly. 

Dear 15 Readers, you are out of luck, because I got nothin'.  Not because there isn't anything to write about, but because there isn't anything HILARIOUS to write about.  I want this to be a place where I am lighthearted and breezy, but I'm fresh out of fun right now.

The reason is because of my child, who has been dealing with chronic pain for 2 months. I am not trying to complain, or make this a "woe is me" thing.  I know all people struggle with something.  My immediate family has tackled OCD, anxiety, marital stress, loss and economic hardship.  But we have always persevered.

This time has been different.  My child has missed so much school, and been so isolated.  Illness has a polarizing effect - people don't know what to do or say, so they stay away.  I get that, but it doesn't make it any easier.

So, rather than focus on my child's pain, or my fears, or the "what ifs" that are coming, I'd like to go into re-runs.  I invite you to browse the blog and find my best posts to enjoy. 

However, if you are still wanting for more, I am going to offer some inspirational videos that should uplift.  My experience has been that boy bands and Kristen Wiig make good therapy.

Until next time, keep crowin'. And if you pray, please do so for my child.