It’s hard to believe my six-year-old didn’t go to bed last night until 11 p.m. But it is even harder to accept the fact that she woke us before 7 this morning. “What the hell?” I asked myself, as I rolled over and cracked open one blood-shot eye to look at her.
Yes, it’s the holidays and the kid has had a tad more sugar than usual, but that doesn’t explain this level of excitement (and lack of sleep). It’s been an odd holiday here for us, to say the least.
First there was the Festival of Lights, then there was her birthday, just a week before Christmas. Then my mother’s birthday, which happens to fall on Christmas Eve and was an even bigger deal this year since she has spent the last nine months of her life fighting an aggressive and rare cancer. Cancer and Christmas just don’t sound like they should go together, but this year – they did.
To round out the picture, my disabled sister came home on Christmas eve; she has a traumatic brain injury and cannot live independently — despite that, she brought presents for everyone, including home-baked goods she made with a friend. Each were put in their own festive tins, with our names on them. (Actually, being gluten intolerant, I didn’t get a tin of goodies. I did get, however, get a book with sayings about cats, but we’ll have to ponder that in another post…)
So there we were – my husband, the sugar-ed up kiddo, the sister with her walker and her cane, my rail-thin mom, my brothers, and one very expensive, all natural ham (special ordered for Christmas feasting). Dinner was underway (we assigned roles to everyone) when we got an unexpected phone call from a cousin who has — I am not kidding you — been away in a war zone protecting diplomats for the last year or so. He was in New York (!) and wanted to know if he and his family could come visit during the next few days…
Well, one thing led to another and of course I invited them to our dinner – so now it was a real big party and it turned out the ham was indeed large enough (so far, post holiday, we have had ham sandwiches and scrambled eggs with cheese and ham, and today we will attempt a split pea and ham soup. Please, make it stop. Between the ham and chocolate, I feel rather gross.)
It was a wonderful night, all of us together, telling stories — and it came on the heels of a two-hour gift opening extravaganza. We even had pumpkin pie for dessert, which I made. (Can I brag for a moment about my sour-cream, banana, chocolate-chip coffee cake which I made with help from the kid and hubbie for X-mas morning breakfast? OMG – yum.)
And then the snow fell. And fell. And fell. Which meant my sister couldn’t go home because her caretaker was trapped in Long Island. We made the best of it, shoveling, goofing off, making hot cocoa and watching the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie together. (Yes, even our movies must involve sugar at this point, it seems!)
Finally, yesterday morning – after weeks of wiggling – and to top off this wacky holiday season – my daughter lost her first tooth!
“Mama, my tooth CAME OUT!” she shouted from the dining room where she was eating a waffle. I dashed over to her, and there, sitting in a puddle of maple syrup, sure enough, was a tiny, little, adorable tooth.
Despite the fact that the house is in a state of chaos, I somehow managed to find the Tooth Fairy box my mom had bought for my daughter last year (for her stocking, no less) and last night we tucked the tooth in and put the kid to bed. (Which of course explains why she couldn’t go to sleep). Well, that and the fact that when my sister finally left, my mom burst into tears and was an emotional wreck.
How can so much happen in so few days? My hopes for today are small – hot coffee, a fast sled down a long hill, and a regular bedtime, for all. And to all, a good night.
This is an original Jersey Moms Blog post. Theta Pavis is a New Jersey mom, poet, writer and editor. Christmas is her favorite holiday but she doesn’t understand why the elves refuse to come to her house and wash the dirty dishes.