Today, my house was a mess.
Clean laundry on the kitchen table. A sewing machine set up in the front room. Fabric scraps and an ironing board in the hallway. Pine needles strewn across the carpet. Muddy paw prints running from the back door to the front. Dishes stacked next to the sink. Dirty laundry covering the bathroom floor.
Today was the Christmas program for the younger two. We needed to leave by 6pm. The Eldest needed to be picked up from swimming at 4:40. The younger ones got off the bus at 3:05. We had little over an hour before we needed to leave to get the Eldest.
They came in, dumped their stuff on the floor. Had snack. I looked at the clock. I looked at the piles of life stacked everywhere. I sighed. I made a choice.
“You guys wanna take a walk with me and the dogs after snack?”
Their eyes lit up, they were totally excited.
It was almost freezing outside. Literally. I think it was 34. I leashed up the dogs and we headed out. We carefully walked along the main road to the next street up, which is a quiet residential loop. I worked with my littlest and the dogs. She did great, and now feels comfortable walking both dogs – not at the same time though.
The boy chatted the whole time. Running ahead with a dog, running back. Switching dogs and running some more.
The walk made us late to get to pick up the eldest, but we were all happy. I was freezing, wet feet and muddy jeans, but happy.
Once home with all the kids, I cooked some taquitos for a quick meal before heading down to the school. The eldest showered all the chlorine out while I put on dry clothes. Everyone was happy, coloring and eating.
My house is still a pit. Actually, it's worse, because of the added dishes from dinner and I had managed to switch the loads, so more laundry piled on the table.
But you know what?
They are important, spending time with them. Not racing back and forth trying to find the floor or cajoling them to help clean up. The smiles and laughter are important.
Their program was great. They did great. Getting home, getting them settled in bed, I realized what I want.
A low key holiday. A happy, homey holiday.
I want them to remember the day, spending time with Mommy and Daddy. I don’t want them to remember frazzled Mommy.
This year, it’s going to be simple. Low key. Fun. Spending time focused on the now. Enjoying the time as is comes, not striving and stressing to make it "perfect."
One of my friends posted a link on Fb to a blog post entitled “Please don’t stress on account of me”
The author is traveling to family and doesn’t want them to stress about creating the perfect holiday.
I’m not traveling this year, I’m hosting Christmas Eve dinner.
I’m making a choice. I don’t care if my coat rack is full of backpacks and coats. I’m not going to stress about the piles of papers that need filed. Or the full clothes hampers. Or the cobwebs in the corners.
They're not coming to spend time with my coat rack or papers. They're coming to spend time with me and mine.
I’m not going to pretend that everything is going swimmingly and easy. It’s not. I’m also not going to complain about how hard life is right now.
I know what I want my holiday to look like. I know what I want the kids to remember.
Yes, it includes vacuumed floors, clean bathrooms and tasty food. It also includes laughing with my kids, working on a puzzle, playing Mario Kart and drinking grownup hot cocoa.
It doesn’t include complicated recipes, cleaning the tops of the cabinets or 8 different desserts.
It includes clean dogs romping with the kids and cats hiding from the twins. It includes singing along to White Christmas while wrapping presents.
I might even put away the living room sewing machine.