I hate you, I love you December.
My husband mentioned to me today after I told him I’ve been feeling down, “Gigi, you realize as long as we’ve been together this month does that to you every year right?” Woah. I hadn’t realized it before, but damn he’s right (I hate when that happens). I’ve got a love/hate relationship with December. This month is a roller coaster of emotion for me, and it hits me pretty damn hard mid-month every single year. I spent most of my day today in a confused, melancholy, detached limbo-land. A little sad, a little excited, and a lot just kind of looking forward to it all being over?
Don’t get me wrong, Christmas as a Mom truly is magical. The excitement of watching movies, buying presents, seeing those little cherub faces light up from all the wonder! Hot cocoa, the decorations, the gifts! There is truly nothing better. But leading up to those special moments is a whole lot of stress, guilt, anxiety and disappointment.
So, before you dub me a big evil Grinch… Yes, of course – I love the holidays. I love the time with my family, I love giving gifts and eating yummy food and seeing the people I cherish most on earth smile and laugh.
But... I also hate it.
I hate the pressure. I hate the expectation. I hate how badly I want every second to be so enchanting that I turn into a maniacal control-freak-Nazi-Mom, and ultimately end up sad and angry when it doesn’t go how I’d imagined… I place so much pressure on myself to perfectly craft all this magic for my children…. I AM Santa Claus after all! Building gingerbread houses, laughing and smiling together, watching movies snuggled up on the couch, singing Christmas songs while we decorate the tree, our crazy elf on the shelf up to his silly antics each night. The pressure I create, builds as the weeks go on, and by mid-month I'm on the brink of bursting and burning my house down like that pressure cooker that killed Jack Pearson… I wish I’d gotten my shopping done earlier, my decorations up sooner, I wish my jolliness was jollier. I watch as friends on Instagram seem to do it all perfectly – and I sulk at my lack of magic in comparison.
See, I want so badly for it all to be perfect. A story book. I want to make every second a priceless treasure of my family’s memories, of my memory… I set all these expectations, playing them out in my mind like little hallmark movies. And of course, every year things don’t go as planned. *Que grumpy whining from the children who’ve been up too late eating too much candy.* It honestly sets me into tailspin of frustration and disappointment. Why can’t it just be WONDERFUL?? Well… because it’s life Gigi that’s why, and the tighter you hold onto those reins, the stronger that horse bucks back.
You know what else I hate? I hate being pulled in a million directions. The performances at school, the work parties, the parties with friends, the shopping, the decorating, the traveling, the carting of tired children from one family member’s house to the next.
It. Is. Exhausting.
And with this exhaustion, also comes guilt. We trade Christmases with my family and my in-laws every year. And yes, this is fair, but it doesn’t make me feel any less guilty keeping my kids from my parents and the rest of my family on Christmas. The choices you have to make about who gets those precious moments; those choices are never easy no matter how fair you make them. My parents divorced about 4 years ago, and now I get the fun added layer of choosing between my parents in addition to my in-laws. So many choices, and no matter how long you ruminate, they never feel like they were 100% right. Choosing which gifts to buy or how much money to spend. Spend too little – I feel guilty. Spend too much – I feel guilty. Choosing which party to attend, choosing where our Christmas will cards go. The choices drive me insane, and overthink and overthink. Once I swallow each choice down like a pill, I wash them down with a sip of guilt.
And another thing I hate? I hate how this month makes me sad. It makes me sad selfishly wishing my parents were still together and my family didn’t feel so complicated. It makes me sad knowing there are so few I have left where my children believe in the magic. It makes me sad to feel the month end after the holidays and realize how much time I’d spent stressing and tired. It makes me sad that the time away from work and school never feels like a vacation.
And even with all these things I hate about you December, I’ll still be here every year trying just as hard as I did the last. Because even just those few moments, the fleeting seconds, of sparkles in my sons eyes… those lingering kisses I get from my husband while the cookies bake, the sound of Bing Crosby crooning quietly as we drink cocktails with friends… Those little handfuls of magic; those are what make me keep all the craziness around. Sure, I could use a hell of a lot more quiet moments, some meditation and probably some therapy… But I love these times just as much as I hate them, and yeah December, I wouldn’t trade you for the world.
Keep it crazy, keep it beautiful.