And so we enter the silly season, the one in which all of us run around like chickens without noggins.
I find the holidays exhausting, frankly. Before I had children, they were full of parties and minimal shopping. That was about it, really.
Yes, there’d also be cooking. I’d make my traditional latkes and bacon at some point in December. On Christmas Eve, I’d make a general nod at the Italian half of my family and prepare as many kinds of fish that I can manage. Which isn’t many, because I don’t really like fish. And on Christmas itself, my husband and I would have a leisurely brunch of waffles, followed by a little light present opening, and a ham.
Some day, maybe, after the kids have gone, we’ll return to those halcyon holidays. But that day is a long way off.
The back half of November and all of December now feels like a mad scramble inside a rugby scrum. Given that we’re both academics, we spend the two weeks after Thanksgiving wrapping up the semester, which is like trying to wrap up boulder. There’s no good way to get the tape to stick and the bottom never does get covered. By the end of finals, I’m ready to just cement a crumpled bow on it and walk away.
While the end-of-term madness swirls, there’s a tree to be found, lugged home, and decorated. Last year, the tree sat naked in the dining room window for two weeks because we lacked the energy to drag the ornaments out of the attic.
The kids are now a big help with decorating. Or, at least, the Diva is. The Boy will hang two ornaments and walk away, mostly because his big sister can’t resist informing him that he’s done it wrong.