Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The day before the day before

I'm up late baking and gift making in hopes that this will take some of the pressure off of me on Christmas eve.

I had a meltdown to day and feel a bit (read: a lot) bad about it. Gary and I went off to take care of the last of the Christmas shopping and overspent some. This is nothing new, but it sat badly with me--worse than usual--probably because I'm trying so hard to keep us from sliding into the red this holiday season. I don't know what happens to me when I'm shopping for presents for my kids. I think it's my inner child--not the one with stars in her eyes who loves tinsel, sitting in Santa's lap, and eating cookies--the one that's worried that if she doesn't get it just right that the proverbial "they" won't like her anymore. Intellectually, I know better. But just tell me that when I'm shopping for my favorite people.

I left the kids with some minor housework--specifically laundry, This is always a huge project at our house and I wanted it done before we got back. When I returned, five or six hours later, they'd only done two loads. The Mouth (aka my eighteen year old) proceeded to tell me how the dryer wasn't working right and that it wasn't his fault. It escalated when he wouldn't follow my order to simply be quiet and deal with the matter. I think I was angriest at his father who just stood there saying nothing, allowing The Mouth to continue arguing with me. (Let me clarify something: I don't tolerate this--his brothers understand it and it's never an issue with them. This child/young man sometimes acts like he was brought up in a different household)

The dryer was fine, of course. One of his brothers (my second borne, the mediator) quietly told me that The Mouth had overloaded the washing machine and that the clothes didn't spin out as they should have, which was why it took so long for it to dry. However, this didn't account for four hours of dryer running. I am pretty sure they simply forgot to keep track of the project.

Anyway I had words with Gary who went off to work upset (It didn't help that he suggested that I was just being emotional and he himself was quite rational and impartial and didn't feel the need to intervene because he hadn't yet reached a decision as to who was right or wrong. The man has been married to me for better than twenty years, why does he still make statements like this?). Later I did apologize to The Mouth for raising my voice to him--it probably didn't warrant quite that level of intensity. However I don't expect anything in kind as he's still pretty sure he's not wrong.

The truth is--this is a textbook day before the day before around here. I know from experience that by the time Christmas eve arrives, we'll be fine. It's simply the preparation for the event that gets to me.

While I was out running, I picked up a gingerbread house kit. The kids love these and the process is more fun than the end result. They could care less about what happens to it after they decorate it. They want to lick the icing off the knife, nibble on the candy, and laugh at the crooked results.

Hmm . . . There's a lesson in there somewhere, isn't there?


Dennis Bryant said...

You may not be aware that men are hard-wired to make comments like that. My personal best was, "I'm going out to the workshop for a while. Come get me when you're in a better mood." You can imagine what that bit of warped humor cost me...

Mike said...

". . . There's a lesson in there somewhere, isn't there?"

Yes: A sugar high does not comport with a construction project.

Debby said...

I had my meltdown early, and got it out of the way! How's that for planning.

Serious note: This year, Tim and I had about half the money to spend on the kids. We did not buy for each other, and we did not mail out Christmas cards. We focused on the kids. We shopped very carefully, and we planned every purchase, and I have to say, Mary, once it was all wrapped and under the tree, it doesn't look like we scrimped at all. Moreover, the gifts were so carefully chosen 'to be special' that I'm quite excited for the big day. I'm sure it will be the same for you.

Scotty said...

You left kids with laundry AND expected it all would get done? Hehe.

Gary, Gary, Gary... (I shouldn't be smiling at this but I am, as I shake my head).

Anyway, here's wishing you all a wonderful Christmas, Mary - hope you have a terrific time.

Warmest wishes from across the pond.

(I'm off now to open my presents; the kids have just woken up...)