The bright, shiny stars, of course are my kids and so long as they had a great time and enjoyed themselves (which they did), then I have done my job.
As is my annual tradition, I took down the tree and boxed up Christmas on Boxing Day. I even went out and bought various Rubbermaid containers to put everything away nicely instead of ramming it all in the saggy cardboard boxes and ripped bags that I usually use. I have to say that doing this Christmas purge always gives me a lift. By Boxing Day I am more than ready to have my small living space back and somewhat organized.
Although... the tree has been replaced by a giant cardboard castle - but at least the castle isn't leaving pine needles all over my house, nor is it covered in dangling bits and bobs or cords with colored lights.
The biggest and best Christmas gift I got this year was from my boy - who over the past few weeks really seems to have turned a corner. His communication skills are improving, his tantrums are decreasing and he is slowly warming to the idea that maybe Mom is kinda alright and not just his Dad. At two-and-a-half years old, this boy has thus far REFUSED to have anything to do with the potty. Changing his diapers has gotten to feel fairly degrading, as his shits rival those of a grown man and also he is able to tell me, "Mama, change my diaper." I managed to wrangle a few extra days off from work over Christmas and I vowed that over those days I would get this guy going on the potty. And wouldn't you know it, on Christmas Eve he peed on the toilet for the first time ever. I could not have been happier if I was handed a 20 karat diamond ring. No, really, I'm thinking about framing this...
In addition to his new bathroom skills, he was so excited about opening his gifts and he was so entertaining. He opened one gift and exclaimed, "GUYS! This is so cool!!" His eyes lit up with every gift and he yelled out with excitement. It shone a beautiful, bright light on my dark, dreary heart.
I didn't expect him to be that kid, I thought it would be Ruby - who just turned 4 a couple weeks ago. But Ruby's mind is somewhat advanced and she over thinks a lot of things, including Christmas and Santa and presents and the tree and the stockings and, and, and... She questions everything and needs to know every detail of every thing. And while I'm proud of her super intelligence, I am a bit sad for her that she can't just be blissfully unaware and enjoy the magic. Don't get me wrong, she had a great time as well, but her wheels were turning way more than they needed to be.
Now that I'm no longer sneaking around finding new, creative places to put a tiny elf every night, or running to the store for last minute gifts on behalf of my Dad and brother, or laying awake half the night calculating in my head the damage done to my Visa, I have a bit of time to contemplate the whole thing and think about how I need to do things different next year. I want to minimize some things (ie: money spending and accumulation of meaningless STUFF) and maximize others (being with loved ones and cultivating good feelings, doing more acts of kindness). I can't keep being depressed and disappointed every year. There's gotta be a better way to do things - and I will find whatever that is.
Besides finding a way to renovate Christmas, I have much on my mind for 2013. I'm taking a little time to think some more about my plans before I lay everything out for the the world to read and roll their eyes at, but stay tuned for changes, resolutions and other big things I'm planning for the coming year.