I'm back from our Christmas odyssey and I have to say, it kind of sucked. Although I didn't face lost loved ones, illness, major family dysfunction, or insane travel snafus, the small annoyances piled up until I couldn't pick out which one was worst.
Was it the 15-hour outbound journey, including a six-and-a-half-hour layover in Detroit?
Or was it the snide comments about my children's hygiene/my parenting? (what? no daily baths? wearing pajamas MORE THAN ONCE?)
Was it having to wrap all the Santa gifts at midnight on Christmas Eve because all the cousin's presents were wrapped, and would it make sense for hers to be wrapped and our kids' to be unwrapped? Of course not.
Was it our niece getting two of the items on Jo's wish list and Jo getting none (because they were too heavy to be shipped halfway across the country and then back, just so they could be under the right tree on the right day)?
Maybe it was the ridiculously archaic ideas about hospitality and etiquette that resulted in my being offered food every 10 minutes, like it or not; to the point where I maturely respond by refusing to accept anything, then sneak into the kitchen later to help my own damn self. And that also result in far more discomfort among the part of guests than if you would just stop TRYING SO HARD.
Or! Was it spending literally hours every night putting one or the other child to bed, a parenting chore I loathe anywhere, but especially away from home. Waiting for them to fall asleep is like watching paint dry. In a white room. With no windows.
Hmm ... Maybe the worst was counting the minutes until we could go home, only to be delayed a full 24 hours by a snowstorm. At that point I -- who rarely cries, unless watching a particularly sappy TV commercial -- shed several fat salty tears.
Actually, I know what was the worst. It was knowing how childish I was being. That while I was being facetious with my list of rules, deep down I still have a very hard time letting go of those childhood traditions and realizing that Christmas can go on without them. It might not be the same Christmas, but it can still be a good one. After all, I still got to share it with the ones who are at the very tip-top of my list.