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Stories

Stories, observations, and reflections from a life of raising boys

My Mess

Jenifer DeMattia

So it is done. Another Christmas in the bag. All the excitement and anticipation the holiday brings has come to a close, only to be replaced by the hope of a new year and what it has in store. I am sitting here in silence. A rare escape that only comes after the children have had so much excitement they completely collapse. My husband is at work and the only sound to be heard is the calming breath of my three-year-old deep in sleep and the coffee pot brewing. I found myself aimlessly walking about my house, feeling that I finally have time to clean up what Christmas has joyfully thrown up throughout it. The Thomas the Train toys are laying still on their sides. Fruit snacks were in the bathroom sink when I went to wash my hands. Boxes are stacked and tissue paper is peeking out from underneath the couch. But instead, I am driven to reflect on the holiday. Because like most people, we have once again done what we always vow we will not continue to do. We spent our holiday running from one family members house to the next. Aunts, Uncles, sisters, brothers, moms, dads and step-mom. Cousins, nieces, nephews…Everyone is so different, all mixed together. “Mixed Nuts”, I believe it’s been referred to.

Wrapping paper flies, who knows who got what and where it ended up. Kids are on overload and meltdowns ensue. Food, food, and more food. Wine, dessert, and the occasional conversation about how everyone’s year has been. It’s chaotic. It’s exhausting, and just when you think you will definitely be able to transport the sleeping child from the car to their bed; they wake up and stay that way for hours. How can they keep this up? When will I sleep? On Christmas Eve we stayed up wrapping and preparing meals for the next day. Our eyes burned. Christmas morning pictures are the best because the children look so full of life while the adults look more like the walking dead. But happiness prevails and the joy of our children nourishes us and provides the shot of adrenaline we needed to make it through the day.

I should be curled up next to my son on the couch right now. But I can’t sleep because I’m too filled with excitement. Christmas is over but I am just now feeling that feeling. “The Christmas Spirit”, I believe it’s called. Thinking back on the last few days and how incredibly lucky I am. How lucky each one of us is to have the craziness, the chaos, the family. I don’t think we’ll have that Christmas we speak of after Christmas each year. The one where we stay home in front of the fire and relax in our pj’s for two days. At least not any time soon. Like a box of crayons, my family wouldn’t be as vibrant if we were all the same color. I could do things differently to make the holidays go smoother, but I don’t. In fact, I think I secretly like the way it is. My husband and I decided not to exchange gifts this year. But when we were lying in bed last night and preparing for a much-needed sleep he decided to give me the best gift I’ve ever received from him. He complimented me and told me from his heart why he loved me. And like me, he secretly liked our Christmas just the way it was.

As usual, in his own way, my son summed it all up for me as we prepared this morning to leave the house and catch up with old friends. He pretty much explained what the holidays are to me. We were running around trying to get it together as usual. Diapers needed to be changed, shoes and socks put on. I threw some makeup on my face and grabbed my hairbrush in an attempt to run it through my son’s hair that was sticking up in the back. He pushed my hand away in protest. “Your hair is a crazy mess”, I said.

He simply responded, “Yeah, but it’s my mess”.

 

Smile!