Let’s be honest–we’re really just trying to survive until Tim is on Christmas break for 2 weeks.
It’s been a long month. Really it’s been a long year, and we are reeeeally feeling the effects as life spins to an unruly halt for the holiday break. We adjusted to life with a (terribly sleeping, excessively refluxy) infant just in time to finish renovating our house in the woods last Spring. We listed the house in June sort of on a whim and it sold in two weeks, so we found another house, bought it and moved, as you know.
A full time grad student since last Spring, Tim has weathered the most change. He walked into a good job not even a week after our move, which includes a long commute and being away most of the week. This has had a pretty big impact on our relationship and family dynamic, and I think it’s harder than we both thought it would be. His much needed Fall Break was interrupted since he had a conference out of state, and Thanksgiving was usurped by Papaw’s successful (second) open heart surgery–thank goodness he’s ok and with us for Christmas! And so here we are, feeling like we’ve been running a marathon for a full year now.
But life is like that. Sometimes the years pass smoothly (or dare I even say mundanely) and we lament, feeling like we have made no progress. Then there are years like our last one that make me really proud of all we have done, and I feel a little more like it’s ok to be tired and at the end of my rope right now. We are allowed, and it will pass.
Tim has two weeks off from both work and grad school beginning tomorrow night. We will be driving all over the place for the first half of that, but the second half we are doing nothing. Nothing at all. Because we need to. It’s really, really time for a break for all of us.
It is my favorite time of year, but every year I have the same realization right before Christmas: the holidays are stressful. December has been busy, largely because of our commitment to socialize more. We ran around all of last week exploring Lafayette and play dating and finishing shopping, and then Tim’s parents came for the weekend. Silas was in heaven. This week has been full of doctor appointments and meetings and frantic scurrying to make sure we didn’t leave anyone off the gift list for either extended family.
Don’t get me wrong, we love the family time and the food and the relaxing! But holidays with kids are equal parts more stressful and more fun, I am finding. Everyone wants to see Silas and buy him loads of presents to show their affection. We are quasai minimalists and this is not a society that promotes holidays without an inundation of gift giving, even upon request, as I learned with Si’s first birthday.
We’d love to do extended family celebrations with a focus on a charity or on just spending time together and playing games instead of focusing on the gift giving. There’s value in teaching our kids that giving is as fun as getting, and I want our kids to develop a realistic perspective about the meaning of the holidays we observe and the reality for most of the kids in the world at this time of year and every other year. But go ahead and try to defy the American way of gift giving–people just won’t do it. Too many presents is a good problem to have, but we could be turning all the excess into meaning instead, and we hope to be able to do that in future years.
We are getting excited to see our big families! We are happy to be much closer this year–an hour and forty minutes to each family. Luckily, that’s the length of a good nap since we still have a kid who cries the whole time he’s awake in the car. I won’t be placing any bets on his naps or night sleep while we’re away, either. We will just go with the flow, and by flow I mean an ever-flowing cup of Joe for mama.
I will probably not post again until after the holiday. I have a file of topics I’d like to post about, but nap time doesn’t last forever and the blog tends to get bumped to the bottom of the list. Our next post will be our holiday in photos. Stay tuned.