Let's be honest, traveling with small children is always hard, and "vacationing" with the little ones over the holidays carrying the expectation of Christmas magic in your heart is even harder. You envision jolly cookie baking sessions, a fun trip to the busy mall to visit Santa , cups of holiday cheer passed around a lovely fireplace la, la, la and ho ho ho.
Then there is reality. People get sick, flights are delayed, kids fight, one child hates the snow while the other one wants nothing more than to make snow angels all day long, your broken cell phone turns into several hours on hold with Verizon and icky trips to a shopping center to run cheerless errands. You realize that you lost this or that, and that you packed the wrong stuff. Somehow the magic gets lost in the details of living your every day life miles and miles away from home without your spouse. Exhaustion sets in, and suddenly the sad realization that you are wishing the whole damn season away.
There was a time in my life when festivity was my motto. David and I held an annual holiday bash with enough booze to light up the North Pole. It was our thing. I had fuzzy red sweaters and Santa socks. I shopped for weeks and even made my own wrapping paper (I am not exaggerating folks.) There were parties to attend, sparkly cocktails and evening gowns. Now well... it is an entirely different type of celebration, and one that should be very joyous, but at the moment I am feeling sucked dry and longing for the more carefree "Merry" of earlier times.
It is fair to say that I am a wee-bit self-centered. I still want Christmas to be a little bit about Rachel. I want to have some romance and excitement just for me... but alas this year it seems a bit sparse. It is an unusual year no doubt. We have recently up-rooted our family and moved several states away. Our usual holiday traditions were put aside. No neighborhood holiday party at the Kargas house, no grown-up cocktail event to attend, and few invitations to share the season with friends. This is in fact my first trip with both kids and no husband, and although it hasn't been terrible, it seems a little sad and has certainly been draining.
I am very thankful to have friends and family to visit. I love them dearly. Maybe that is what makes things a bit harder this year. Everyone is here... and we are sharing a brief hectic visit, cramming in as much jingle bells in a few days as possible. I don't want this to foreshadow the years to come. Harried visits over major holidays, catching up quickly while chasing after crazed children. Forced quality time.
I suppose this is how things go, and it is about making the most of the moment. In reading my comments above I realize I am a total buzz kill.... my attitude must change. Joy to the world.
Just wish me an easy trip to Albuquerque. It is suppose to snow and I have a tremendous fear of major flight delays. If we can make it to New Mexico on time and with both kids relatively healthy we have a chance at a pleasant, if not somewhat different holiday....