I would wish you all a Merry Belated Christmas, but when the final Christmas even went down (a fairly full glass of Bailey's while watching the HD Yule log on cable) I was officially done.
Don't get me wrong--As Christmases go, it was a good Christmas. There were no major breakdowns or crack-ups. Little Man was a perfect little traveler and did more than tolerate the gaggle of new people constantly thrown at him. But it was an exhausting Christmas, probably because we celebrated it at least seven time. Count 'em:
"Christmas" morning at home on the 21st.
Hubby's Dad's family's Christmas on the 22nd.
Brief Baptismal interlude on the 23rd.
Hubby's Mom's family Christmas Brunch on the 24th.
My Grampa's hardcore Italian Christmas Eve Fest on the 24th.
Christmas morning with Jason's parents--including Mass on the 25th.
Christmas dinner with my parents and grandparents on the 25th.
Gift opening orgy with my parents on the 25th.
Mix all of that together with being physically drained from traveling with a baby and emotionally drained from dealing with the idea that this would probably be the last Christmas back in Akron for a long while, and I was done. I love Christmas, but after all of that I was done. Finished. Finito. Kaput.
So no Merry Belated Christmas from me.
Here's the thing: it's all just a little too much. Maybe a lot too much.
As I stood Christmas eve, trying to pacify my toddler with cookies while my grandpa said the blessing, tears streaming down my face, I realized that he got it right in the midst of all the chaos of that event. It's not about the amount of presents you get anymore -- let's face it, most of them get returned anyway. It's not even about the stress of cooking and planning the perfect holiday meal. That's all just window dressing. But when he thanked us all for coming and commented on how important it is that we (all 26 of us- all 5 generations present) do get together and celebrate. How important it is to take a moment and think about those would couldn't make it--those who have jobs that have taken then far away and those who are no longer with us. I think that part of why I feel so weary now--so exhausted about the whole thing is that all the whoop-la of gifts and cookies and food and holiday perfection often makes us miss the real reason for it all. To be together. To create moments we remember always, rather than moments that seem like a hazy blur.
And so, despite having a lovely time at each and every single event. Despite enjoying seeing everyone who we saw, I find it strange and yet not unexpected that my favorite moments were the quiet ones. Women around a kitchen table. Talking softly late into the night around a lit tree. Christmas tea in gold rimmed cups. A doll-like infant snuggled on a couch, fast asleep in the midst of chaos. And a cup of Bailey's, straight-up over ice, when the house is quiet and the windows dark.