osterhoudt

It’s that time of the year again. And I’m not prepared. The presents aren’t wrapped, let alone all purchased, and we just got the tree decorations up last week. “We,” as in my daughter, who felt the need to take it upon herself to decorate the lonely looking tree.

The ornaments had been sitting in a box next to the tree for two weeks. I was waiting for the perfect time for all of us to be home at the same time and motivated to decorate the tree together. My daughter realized that wasn’t going to happen if we wanted the tree decorated before Christmas Day.

I’m quite proud that she took it upon herself and decorated the tree. She hasn’t been terribly motivated lately. But she loves Christmas. The tree that sat undecorated for two weeks is pretty indicative of how I feel right now. So many things to do and take care of, and it forever seems like there’s never enough time.

This past weekend, for the first time in I don’t know how long, my husband and I spent Saturday watching the entire first season of “Yellowstone’’ on TV. We spent the day sitting on the couch, only to get up for snacks and to use the bathroom. It was quite delightful! Lazy, but delightful. We were pooped. He’s behind schedule on a renovation, I’m super busy at work. We’d both been getting home late the last couple of weeks. I know—it seems pretty risky have to have a lazy weekend on the last weekend of shopping before Christmas. Especially when the shopping is not done. I guess I just don’t care. The holidays are about spending time with people. Not about getting “stuff.” I hope my kids understand.

This holiday break I intend to spend time with my family and enjoy my home. For the first time since I’ve been in administration, I’m taking the entire Christmas break off — using some vacation days. I’ve always enjoyed the quiet week at work during the holidays when hardly anyone was in the building at school, and I could get so much done.

This year I need a break. This year, it’s been so busy and stressful. COVID has continued to wreak havoc on schools. Shortage of staffing and quarantines, along with the social emotional needs of students and staff, have been a lot to bear. I know the work will be there when I get back. But my mind and body deserve a much-needed break.

I’m delighted that the whole family will be home too. While I don’t plan on doing much schoolwork, there is a lot to be done around the house. Because my husband and I have been so busy, the house is a hot mess. So, while home, I’ll be doing some housework. And oddly enough, I’m looking forward to it.

I’ll enjoy being “domestic.” Lately, I’ve been a far cry from that. A group text last week made that all too clear. In that group text to my husband, son and daughter I mentioned that I was on my way home from work and that I was planning on cooking dinner. My son’s response to the group text was, “Mark this day down on the calendar!” Yeah, even though I enjoy cooking and baking, I don’t do it very often. My son has jokes!

I’m also looking forward to some quality time with my family. I just want to enjoy my home and their company. There’s no place I’d rather be anyway. Honestly, that’s what the holidays are about. So, with that being said, I hope all my readers are able to enjoy the company of their friends and loved ones this holiday season. Merry Christmas and happy New Year, friends!

Michelle Osterhoudt is a school administrator, Oneonta Area NAACP vice president, and former council member for the Fourth Ward in the city of Oneonta. She is a SUNY Oswego SDP Associate and is working on her Ed. D at the University of New England, Biddeford, Maine. She can be reached at osterhoudt32@yahoo.com

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