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CHRISTMAS TREE CHAOS

This past weekend, I sucked as a mother. It’s not an everyday occurrence and for that, my children are thankful. So am I. But this weekend, yeah, this weekend I felt like a failure.

All Casey wanted to do was decorate the Christmas tree. I’m sure you know by now that we’re not an over-the-river-and-through-the-woods-to-find-the-perfect-tree kind of family. We’re more the, go-down-to-the-scary-spider-filled-dank-basement-and-drag-up-the-plastic-evergreen variety. I know for some, singing and fresh baked cookies also accompany the family ritual. For us, it’s Golden Oreos and the holiday music channel on cable. Not that hard right? Yet somehow, between Thanksgiving, napping, Black Friday shopping , napping, watching the vast wasteland that has become TV, driving kids to various engagements and you guessed it, more napping, I never got around to hauling from the basement the tree with it’s three parts and the combination of plastic and cardboard boxes that hold ornaments in every size, shape and color imaginable. Each day my beautiful first born would ask, “Mom can we decorate the tree?” And I would reply, “How about we do it tomorrow baby?”

This past weekend, I sucked as a mother. It’s not an everyday occurrence and for that, my children are thankful. So am I. But this weekend, yeah, this weekend I felt like a failure.

All Casey wanted to do was decorate the Christmas tree.  I’m sure you know by now that we’re not an over-the-river-and-through-the-woods-to-find-the-perfect-tree kind of family. We’re more the, go-down-to-the-scary-spider-filled-dank-basement-and-drag-up-the-plastic-evergreen variety.  I know for some, singing and fresh baked cookies also accompany the family ritual. For us, it’s Golden Oreos and the holiday music channel on cable. Not that hard right? Yet somehow, between Thanksgiving, napping, Black Friday shopping , napping, watching the vast wasteland that has become TV, driving kids to various engagements and you guessed it, more napping, I never got around to hauling from the basement the tree with it’s three parts and the combination of plastic and cardboard boxes that hold ornaments in every size, shape and color imaginable. Each day my beautiful first born would ask, “Mom can we decorate the tree?”  And I would reply,  “How about we do it tomorrow baby?”

In my (weak) defense, it wasn’t just me who was running in 30 different directions.  Cole and Casey both had parties and everyone enjoyed the low key ‘sleeping in’ that comes with a long holiday weekend.  No sooner had we put away the Turkey and stuffing (and when I say “put away” I mean eat), it was Sunday night and I was preparing to leave for my stint with Woman’s Day. The tree was still down in a corner of the scary basement.

It wasn’t until after the chaos of that 72 hours had abated and I lay my head on the pillow of the fancy hotel room I was staying in Sunday night that I realized I felt like complete poop.  I felt like I had let Casey down. I know I have talked about this before, these two kids of mine. Cole the rough and tumble, hardhead with even harder edges. He refuses to take no for an answer and like the Colorado River against rock, will just wear you down. And then there’s Casey, sweet, kind, considerate, a people-pleaser. She accepted my (weak) explanations (excuses) because she is not, nor has she ever been, one to rock the boat.

But this time, I secretly wished she had. What mother wishes her children would talk back to her? Well, I did, at least in this particular case. I want Casey to push back a little, outside of her comfort zone just a bit; not to be so willing to go along to get along or take no for an answer. What I really wanted was for her to kick me square in my behind for not doing what I said I would.

The disappointment was unbearable but not for her. See one of the other really cool things about my kids is that they very much go with the flow. So while she was a little bummed, she quickly moved on with the understanding we would do the tree when she got home from school Monday. No I was horribly disappointed in myself.  I felt like I had let her down. I felt like I had provided her with a poor example of what a mother is and does. She forgave me my bout of laziness; it wasn’t so easy for me to do the same.

By the time Casey got home from school, I had already done battle with the oversize plastic containers and they and the tree were all ready for assembly in the corner of the living room. We blasted the holiday channel and sang along as we pulled out and dusted off the dollar store ornaments, including the creepy birds missing so much fuzz they look like one-eyed dogs with mange (they did not go on the tree!) In short, we had a great time and the tree looks fine (save the top part where it didn’t light up and we had to add a string of drug store lights that mommy bought without realizing they are a different color. Sigh).

You know the lesson in this for me? It was about practicing what I preach; I cut myself some slack. I’m so not perfect; never have been, never will be. I really had to get a grip and understand this motherhood thing is most definitely a journey, a long road race rather than a short sprint. Some days I am batting a thousand, others I shouldn’t even be in the majors. This weekend I was definitely playing minor league ball (I promise that was the last sports analogy).

But the tree is up and Casey is happy and I’m willing to bet she won’t even remember that we put it up a few days late… until she does this with her own children.

Has this ever happened to you; an instance where you felt like you had let your kids down and even though they forgave you, you had a hard time doing it for yourself? Start sharing your stories GEM’s!

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