Tag Archive | memories

Valentine Tears

Today is Valentine’s Day!  A day of love, hugs, kisses and gifts and for some, a day of tears.  Not because the person you are dating didn’t buy you a gift.  Not because your spouse forgot to tell you Happy Valentine’s Day.  Not because your children didn’t show appreciation for what you do for them.  In my case, today is a day of tears because a very special Valentine will not arrive from my Mom.

It’s been 5 1/2 years since my mom died of cancer.  My grief for her is not as debilitating as it used to be.  I can go a month or so without missing her to the point of tears.  But on special occasions like Valentine’s Day, I miss her so much.  My mom always had some special Valentine’s gift for my siblings and I.  It could be something simple like a coloring book or just a box of chocolates, but no matter what, she always had a gift for us.  Even when I moved away, she would send me a care package at Valentine’s with a bag of my favorite candy bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

When I would call and thank her for remembering, she would tell me that she had to make sure her kids had a special Valentine’s gift from her.  (Yes, she would send care packages to all of her kids.)  Which explains my Valentine’s Day tears.  Memories of her love and care flood me with grief over the fact that she is not on this earth anymore.  Yes, I am an adult and a mother of four, I can go and buy as many Reese’s and I want for myself.  But that’s not the point, the point is that my mom took every opportunity to show me how much I meant to her and I miss the fact that I can’t hear her voice or read a special note that she’s written to me in a card.

I miss my mom today more than others, because it reminds me of how great of a mom she was.  I try my best to be that kind of mom for my kids, but I don’t know if I do it as well as she did.  Yes, I have bought some Valentine chocolates for my kiddos to receive tonight.  Yes, I purchased and helped them make out Valentine cards for their classmates.  And yes, I will most likely pop in during their Valentine’s Day party at school today.  But for some reason, that doesn’t seem like as much as my mom had done for me.  I’m afraid my grief for my mom makes my efforts a little less special for my kids.  But maybe that’s just the Devil trying to pull me down when he knows that I am weak.

So now that I have shared with you the love I have for my mom and the pain and tears that come with Valentine’s Day, I will wipe away the tears and do my best to make this day as special as I can for my kiddos.  So that one day, they too can have fond memories of me on Valentine’s Day.  To all those who find it hard to put aside their grief during this Valentine’s Day, I give you my own words of advice.  Spend a few minutes thinking of the one you lost and remember the great things they did for you.  Then get up and make this day a special day for someone special in your life.  Spread the love that you would have shown to your deceased loved one with someone that needs it most today.  Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

 

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2015 in review

It’s been a great year!

There were a great number of things that happened in 2015.  Below is just a few things that come to mind:

I got to see One Direction in concert with my kids, sister and niece.

I got to substitute teach at more schools in a variety of subjects.

I got my book “Baby Steps of Faith – Marie’s Story” self-published on the Kindle Store.

My blog has had great activity also. (see the stat report below)

 

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

I would like to thank everyone for reading my blog and I hope that some of my posts have made your life a little bit easier.  I look forward to the great things that 2016 has to offer for us all.

Happy New Year!

One for the Record Books

It has become a family tradition to help decorate and ride on the school Christmas float in the Williams’ household.  We have done it for at least four years now.  There is normally a handful of students that ride on it, along with some parents and the nuns that teach at our school.  It’s always a lot of fun and I’m glad we do it.  However, this year’s Christmas Parade has to go down in the record books as the most memorable to date.

We have had some unusually warm weather lately for our area.  Normally it’s pretty chilly after the sun goes down.  But last night we were riding in the Christmas Parade and it was in the high 60’s, with a chance of rain.  In fact, there was a few times while we waited for the parade to start, that it started to sprinkle on us.  Thankfully, we had some umbrellas and ponchos, just in case.

As the Christmas parade began, things seemed like every other year.  The kids and I were sitting on the float, waving and yelling Merry Christmas to the spectators.  The only difference was, that this year, Frank was riding on the float too.  We had a live nativity scene on our float, so we were all decked out in costumes.

We made it up to the spot where the local broadcasters were filming the parade.  They announced our float and we all waved and spread our Christmas cheer to the people viewing at home.  Things went well, until we got a little bit further down the parade route.  Then things got a little intense.

First, it started to sprinkle.  Then it started to rain.  Okay, we had umbrellas, so we continued to do our best to wave at the spectators that were being pelted by the rain.  Then came the real downpour.  What do you do when you are riding on a float in a downpour?  You continue to wave and wish people Merry Christmas, as you laugh in disbelief at your circumstances.

What came next was definitely not expected.  The wind picked up, which made the rain start hitting us at an angle.  But hey, we had umbrellas.  That is, until the wind caused our umbrellas to flip-up in the wrong direction.  So picture this, we are riding on a float, waving at spectators, as rain is hitting us at an angle and our umbrellas look like bowls on top of poles.  Couldn’t get much worse, right?  Wrong!

As we round a corner, the wind catches two of the small Christmas trees we had sitting in the corner of the float and starts bringing them down beside me.  I didn’t know what to do.  Do I catch the trees or do I continue to hold the umbrella that my two little kids were hovering under?  I decided to continue to hold the umbrella and let the trees go down.

By now Ann, my youngest daughter, is crying and I’m trying to calm her down.  It didn’t help the situation when the ambulance that was following us in the parade decided to turn on their sirens.  Yes, there was one moment during this whole event that I was thinking this was really becoming a true nightmare.  A float ride from Hell, if you may.  Then it happened, the must unexpected and memorable moment of the parade.

Right around the time the two Christmas trees fell over, I glance up at the nuns that were sitting across from me.  What I saw was awesome.  Two of the nuns, who are probably in their early 30’s, were huddled next to each other.  They were holding an umbrella that had flipped up into a bowl and they were laughing their heads off like they were teenage girls.  It was great, seeing them laughing at the unexpected situation.

It was at that moment that I realized that this float ride was a good example of life.  There will be times in your life where you think things will go smoothly.  Then, out of the blue, the rain will come along.  A little rain doesn’t seem so bad, but when the rain gets harder and you’re not as comfortable as you started out, then you have a choice to make.  You can either crumble under the pressure of life or you can throw your head back and laugh.  Your reactions will not make the circumstances change.  The rain will most likely continue to fall, whether you laugh or cry.  However, how you react to the situation will make a difference in how you feel about your circumstances.  What difference does that make?  A big difference.  Your attitude or reactions to the difficult situations life brings you makes a difference of how happy you can be in your life.

I am happy to report that the rain and wind died down before the parade was over.  By the time we were rounding the last corner of the parade route, we were thanking the rain drenched spectators for sticking it out with us.  I have a feeling that Ann will never want to ride on a Christmas float again.  Her memories will most likely be full of fear and misery.  However, the only thing I will remember about this year’s Christmas parade will be the beautiful sight of those two nuns, having a ball in the middle of a rain storm.  So will I be riding on next year’s Christmas float?  Heck yeah, even if there is a chance of rain.

Not Today!

There are days that I am stronger than others.  I can normally take a joke and even brush off an insult from my kids.  But yesterday was not that day.  Yesterday was the 4 year anniversary of my mother’s death.  And though the pain is not quite as debilitating as it was the day it happened, the pain is still there.  The thought that I can’t call her on the phone or hug her when I want to brings me sadness and pain.

Which is why yesterday should have been marked on the calendar as “Not Today!” day.  Let’s rewind back to the last 48 hours and I’ll show you why yesterday’s motto was “Not Today!”  On the eve of my mother’s 4 year death anniversary (I guess that’s what you call it.  It’s the day she died, so I’m calling it her ‘death anniversary’.)  Anyway, on the eve of my mom’s 4 year death anniversary I was trying to adjust my flexible eyeglasses when they snapped in half.

Without my glasses, I am useless.  I can see about 5 inches from my face.  So you can imagine what state of mind I was in.  To say I was cranky doesn’t even come close to describing my mood.  I was mad at the situation, I was mad at myself and I was a tad P.O.’d that no one volunteered to drive me to the eyeglass store the next day to get them fixed.  So I did the only thing I could do, I pulled up my big girl panties and duct tape the crap out of them.  See:

20150818_093902 - Copy (2)

 

So the following morning (the day that I lost my mom 4 years earlier), I go walking into the kid’s school sporting these bad boys.  LOL  They didn’t just look dorky, they were off kilter on my face.  That would not have been a problem, except for the fact that I have bifocals.  Do you know what happens when you wear bifocals that are not lined up correctly to your eyes?  They give you a headache.  So as I was dropping off all the kids to their classrooms (except for Marie, cause she’s a teen and can go on her own), I was explaining to the teachers that I broke my glasses last night.

I think back now and wonder why I felt the urge to tell the teachers that my glasses were broken.  Surely they guessed that was why I had duct taped them.  I wouldn’t be wearing them like this just for the fun of it.  I may be strange, but not that strange.  So by the time I had left the school, everyone I had been in contact with knew that I had broken my glasses last night and I was heading to the eyeglass store to get them fixed.

I made it to the eyeglass store and waited in my van while my back up glasses were being made.  Since I had the time to kill and I was getting sleepy in the van, I decided to call my sister.  We had a good one hour conversation on the phone about a variety of things.  But the one thing that stands out is the way my sister reminds me of my mom.  My sister has 7 kids and they range from 25 to 10 I believe.  (I know I should be a better aunt and remember my niece’s and nephew’s ages, but I have enough trouble remembering my four kid’s ages sometimes.)

Remember her daughter Louise?  My niece that went to the One Direction concert with us?  Well, she decided to take a vacation to Colorado.  She was driving out on her own and meeting up with a friend that was flying into Colorado that day.  Some mother’s would be worried about their daughter traveling alone for such a long distance.  But not my sister, because my sister is just like our mom.

You see, my sister was able to let Louise take a trip to Puerto Rico by herself to live in a Hostel for a few months and just experience the culture.  If she could make it through Louise’s Puerto Rico trip, then a trip to Colorado was like a walk in the park.  Besides, she told me on the phone that she had a good feeling about the trip.  Even when she was not able to reach her daughter, because the cellphone coverage was not strong enough, she didn’t freak out.  Because she had a good feeling about it.  That’s exactly how my mom was, she would leave her worries at God’s feet and know that He would protect us when we left her.  She was a very brave mom, but I didn’t always see how brave she was then.  I had to get a little older before I realized how many times my mom had stood there bravely as she watched her children take off and fly on their own.

I had told my sister that of all days, this was not a good day to have her daughter in the middle of America without cellphone coverage.  She agreed that many times the thought of Louise getting in an accident on the day of our mom’s death anniversary did pop into her head.  But she would push the thoughts out of her head and be at peace with the situation because she had a good feeling about it.  I hope that when my children get older and start to take adventures by themselves, that I will be able to be as confident as my sister and mom were.

In a way, knowing what my sister was dealing with that day gave me some sort of comfort.  You know that saying about misery loves company.  Not that I wanted her to be miserable, but to know that today was a little difficult for her helped me feel less alone.  I wasn’t the only one walking around struggling with simple things on the 4 year anniversary of my mom’s death.

Before I go any further, may I say that I have one cool niece.  In fact, all my nieces and nephews are pretty darn cool.  They go out and do things that other people dream of.  I am so glad they have that sense of adventure in them.  Their grandmother is smiling down from Heaven on them and she is very proud to know that they don’t let the fear of the unknown keep them from trying.

As I mentioned before, I am a pretty easy person to deal with.  I will overlook quite a few things that my family may say or do.  But as I was waiting for my glasses to be fixed, I had sent a text to Frank.  I had noticed that he had withdrawn a larger amount of cash from the bank account than he normally does.

So I asked him, “Why did you take so much money out of the checking account yesterday?”

He replies back, “Because   stupid.”

I looked at the text and was pretty sure what he meant to say.

I do believe he meant to type, “Because I’m stupid.”  Because that’s the same thing I would have said to him.  However, on my mom’s 4 year death anniversary, that little typo didn’t set so well in my stomach.

So I texted him back and said, “Ok, did you just call me stupid or did you forget the word “I’m”????”

He replied back with, “No, I’m stupid.  lol”

I responded back with “Good answer.  LOL”

About five seconds later, Frank calls me on the phone.  We laughed about the typo and then I told him that I was just about to come down to his job and kick his butt for that comment.  LOL  Like I said, ‘Not Today’.  Yesterday would have been fine.  Two days from now would have been fine, but not on my mom’s 4 year death anniversary.

You would think that by the time I got home with my backup glasses, things would get better.  After all, I could see again and things were in alignment.  Wrong!  When I went to get my kids, they had to comment on my new glasses right away.  For the most part, they were just excited that I had new glasses.  But Patrick decided it was be a good idea to keep telling me that I looked like a nerd.  That might be true and on a normal day I would just let it go.  But ‘Not Today!’, not on the day I was mourning the loss of my mom.  So needless to say, by the time Frank got home I was at the point of shooting Patrick for his remarks about my new glasses.

It was around this time that I realized that there needs to be some sort of shirt that people should wear on this type of occasion.  It needs to be a t-shirt with a logo like

“Lost my Mother 4 years ago today.  Handle with care.”  

Or “This is Not the Day to Mess with Me!”  

Or “It’s my mom’s death anniversary – Look out…You’ve been warned!”  

This way, the people who are around you that day, will know that you are not fully in control of your emotions and their actions could cost them some pain in the long run.

Yes, it has occurred to me that I might appear to be a little overly sensitive on this day.  But you know what?  I lost my mom and for the other 364 days of the year, I don’t let the sadness get to me as bad.  So I think that I deserve at least one day to be overly emotional as a memorial for my mom.

My mom was not just my mom, she was my best friend…and I miss her.  I know there will come a day that we will be reunited again in Heaven and believe me, I look forward to that day.  But until that day happens, I guess I will continue to flag this day as the “Not Today!” day.

I love you Mom and I am so thankful you were in my life.  No matter how short the time might have been, you taught me so much and I am forever in your doubt.  R.I.P. Mom.

Three Days & Counting (Confessions of a Middle-Age Mom – Chapter 7)

My kids have been counting down to the day we start our northbound trip to see the cousins.  Yesterday they announced that we have three days left.  Wait!  What?  Three days left?  I have so much to do and my time is running out.  And yet, here I am blogging when I should be working.  LOL  It reminds me of the embedded image that I have of my grandma (My mom’s mother) when we would visit my mom’s family on our summer vacation.  I would be laying on the living room floor with my siblings, waking up from last night’s sleep.  My Grandpa would have already been up with the roosters (so to speak) and was tinkering around the house, talking to himself and his toy poodle Pixie.  🙂

Mom would be sitting in the same chair she was sitting in when I fell asleep the night before and Grandma would be in ‘her’ chair.  In a span of an hour, I would hear her say at least a dozen times, “I got to get moving.  I have so much work to do.”  Then she’d reach for her big Love’s travel mug to get a sip of tea or something and the next thing she would do is reach for the phone and call someone up.  Most likely one of my aunts or uncles to announce that our family had arrived and they should come over for a family gathering to eat ‘Paul Bunyan burgers’ tonight.  LOL  Yep, I take after my Grandma.  I have so much work to do and yet I’m writing this post to my followers instead.  🙂

Anyway, I do have a lot of loose ends to tie up before our trip.  Mostly washing dirty laundry and helping the kids finish their summer homework so they won’t have to cram it in when we return from our trip.  Summer seemed like it would never end and now it seems like I’m hanging onto a locomotive that is running out of control.  I know that I am actually more ready than I think I am.  I just think of all the ‘other’ things that I should do and wish I had the time.

Baby steps, if my daughter taught me anything, it’s to take everything in baby steps.  I need to focus on the now and leave the future worries alone.  So I am currently focusing on what will happen tomorrow.  OH CRAP!  Is this really going to happen TOMORROW?  I guess it is.

Tomorrow is the day that Frank and I announce to the kids that we are going to see a few other people on our trip.  Four foreign bloaks known as One Direction.  I have kept the secret long enough.  I have wanted to tell my kids, especially Marie, so many times these past weeks but I have kept it a secret.

So how should we break the news to them?  Well, ordinary people would just give them the concert tickets.  However, if you haven’t figured out by now, my family is not ordinary.  At least I’m not!  :-p  So Frank and I have come up with the ultimate way to tell the kids about the surprise and get it documented for prosperity.

A professional photo session!  About a year ago, a parent from the kid’s school was setting up a Facebook page for her photography business.  She was trying to get her page known, so she had a giveaway for a free photo session to the Facebook person that could get the most friends to Like her page.  I ended up winning the free photo session, but we have never redeemed our prize…until now.

What better way to capture the kids reaction to the surprise then to have a photographer record it in pictures?  The photographer gave me the idea to have a documentary type photo session, instead of the traditional posed setting.  But where could we go to get photos taken at that would allow screaming kids?

Since it is so hot out right now, the idea of an outside outing is out of the question.  So we needed to get an inside venue that would allow screaming.  (Cause there is going to be some screaming when my kids hear the news.  Or at least there BETTER BE some screaming.)  After explaining what we had planned to the photographer, she suggested having the session at a bowling alley.  Which is great, cause we love to bowl and that won’t be something out of the ordinary for us.

So Saturday morning, my family will be going bowling…with a paparazi in tow.  The plan is to have her take pictures of us bowling together and then at the end of the session, we will tell the kids the secret and she will have it recorded on film.  I’m hoping that her older daughter will be with her to take a video of the event also.  This is going to be EPIC!  I think telling them about the concert is making me as excited as taking them to the concert.

Of course, I am a realist.  I know that my well laid out plan might and probably will back fire.  Someone, most likely Patrick, will probably be in a huff over something when we tell them the news and not all the photos will be filled with sunshine and happiness.  However, that is life and I am prepared for the possibility.  The kids know we are going to bowling tomorrow and that we are getting pictures taken, they just don’t know the rest of the story.

So tomorrow is bowling time.  It is exciting and nerve-racking at the same time.  But by tomorrow afternoon the cat will be out of the bag and my kids will know that they are not only going to see their cousins on this trip, but also One Direction.  And HOPEFULLY, they will also think that their Mom and Dad are the best parents on this earth.  I know, that is probably pushing it a bit…but a mom can dream!

Adoption of the Heart

Thanks to my unemployment status, I had the chance to work as a substitute teacher at my children’s school and attend a variety of school functions this year.  I read a friend’s comment on Facebook the other day about “adopting her bible school class into her heart”.  I like that phrase, so I’m going to borrow it.  It is a good description of what has happened to me this year.  I have adopted the students at my children’s school into my heart.  So you can imagine the melancholy feeling I have as the school year comes to an end.

I know that the 8th graders will be moving on to High School next year.  But I also know that some of the younger students might not be coming back to this school next year.  It’s sad to see these kids spread their wings and fly from the nest.  Plus, there is a possibility that I won’t be as involved in my children’s school next year.  As I pursue my dream to be a teacher, some of the opportunities of helping at the school next year might be a little limited.  So I know, in the back of my brain, that the end of this school year is an end to some great times.  Ones that can only be replayed in my memories.

That is why I wanted to be present at the yearbook signing yesterday.  I wanted to have a chance to make my ‘mark’ in the children’s yearbook, since they made a mark in my heart this year.  I have memories of each and every one of the children at that school, in one situation or another.  Whether it was during a substitute teaching job, an inter-session, after-care or on a school function.  During this year, I have been given the privilege to share a conversation or an event with each one of those children.  During that time, without me realizing it, I had adopted each one of those children into my heart.  Whether they realize it or not, they made me a different person.

So since I have four children and can not afford 4 yearbooks, I had to do some creative thinking to make it “fair” for all my children.  (God knows we don’t want to get my kids started on the “It’s not fair” game.)  The school protocol is to give the yearbook to the oldest sibling in the family.  Which meant that Marie would be getting the yearbook to use during the yearbook signing.  This was not going to make Patrick happy.  In fact, when I tried to use the yearbook signing as a motivation for going to school yesterday, it backfired.  Instead of getting him out of bed faster, it made him upset and declared that he didn’t want to go to school.

That is what caused me to find away to make the yearbook signing a happy memory for all the kids at their school.  First I created and ordered a special photo collage of Patrick during some school events.  This would be his autograph page to gather signatures on.  During that time, I noticed a sale on reprints, so I decided to make a copy of a class photo for all of Patrick’s classmates.  I figured I could get some card-stock and attach the 4 x 6 photo to it for an autograph page.  Some of the kids in Patrick’s class would have an actual yearbook, but some would be like Patrick, since they had an older sibling in the school.

Thankfully, as I was on the road to pick up my supplies to make Patrick’s day memorable, I started wondering about my little Kindergarten and Preschool child.  Would they be involved in the yearbook signing?  Would they feel left out too?  And how many other kids in that school would have the same scenario happening?  I am the type of mom that tries to buy a small gift, like a coloring book, for younger siblings if we attend a birthday party.  My mom always did that and I’m proud to carry on the tradition.  So that is what prompted me to be awesome yesterday.  Yep, I had to get my ‘Awesome’ cape out of the closet for the day.

I had purchased a package of white card-stock to mount Patrick’s class photo on.  So I decided to go one step farther and print off some labels that said “AUTOGRAPHS” on it and placed them at the top of a card-stock.  I handed out enough pages to all the classroom teachers so that no one would be empty-handed that day.  I figured it would help my younger kids not feel so left out if their classmates had similar Autograph pages.

Come to find out, the Preschool and Kindergarten classes did take part in the yearbook signing.  Since I had a 4-year-old in my house, I could imagine what some of those yearbooks might go home looking like.  I can picture the conversation now:

A parent would ask one of the Pre-K students, “Honey, why is your photo blacked out of the yearbook?”

The child would answer, “Because the teacher gave me a marker to sign my name, so I decided to color the photo instead.”

At least, that is what my kids would probably do.  🙂  So that is why I gave the Preschool teacher enough Autograph pages for all of her class to use.  That way the yearbook could be tucked in the child’s backpack for their parent’s to enjoy…marker-free!

As I said earlier, I wanted to be present at the yearbook signing and I was.  I got a chance to put a note in some of the kid’s yearbook.  I made sure to sign my daughter’s friend’s yearbook with the quote, “Good Luck With That!”, because it was a comment I made one day in class that seemed to become my quote for the year.  Some of the kids asked me to sign their yearbook and for some of the kids, I just took it and signed it without them asking me.

What can I say, I may be a 45-year-old, mother of four, but in my heart and mind I’m still young.  I hope that as years go by, those kids will pass over my note in their yearbook and it will make them remember a time we shared this year.  Whether they know it or not, each and every one of them has been adopted into my heart and I can’t wait to see them grow into the wonderful human beings that I know they can be.

Christmas Countdown

{Here is another story that was typed but never posted.  It was originally written on December 26, 2013.  Two years later, I am very thankful I had written these events down.  I remember them all, but forgot they all happened on the same holiday.  Enjoy!}

An old classmate sent me a message the other day and there was a statement that really tickled me.  She has never had kids and she wrote, “I bet Christmas at your house is so much fun.”  I hated to burst her bubble of the wonderful image she had of my life, but if she reads this blog she will discover that my family Christmas’ will never be used to portray a Norman Rockwell Christmas picture.  Maybe the cover of a National Lampoon Christmas Vacation movie, but not a Norman Rockwell picture.  LOL

I’m sure you all understand the term “cause and effect”.  I have decided to use a cause and effect layout to describe my Christmas Holiday.  I hope it comes across the same way I had it in my head.  I was going to write, in detail, what my Christmas Holiday was like, but it was turning into a book.  So hopefully you will get a good understanding of what my Christmas was like from the highlights below.  So please join me on my Christmas Countdown.

4 days before Christmas

Woke up to an ice storm = Me outside beating on the weighed down tree limbs with a stick.  (It was like beating a big pinata and I actually kind of enjoyed it.)
Kids excitement level for Christmas escalating + Boredom of being inside = More sibling fighting than normal.
Ice storm causes a baby-sitting event to be cancelled = No Christmas shopping alone with my hubby.
My youngest throwing a toy car at the ceiling = Broken glass globe on my ceiling fan/chandler.
Ice storm blows a neighborhood transformer = Me leaving a shopping cart full of toys at a store to return home.  (By the way, the glass globe incident happened on Dad’s watch, about 5 minutes before the power went out.  So the big pieces were picked up, but not the little pieces.  And if you were wondering, the kids continued to fight IN THE DARK!)
Estimation of power coming back on at 8:00pm = Taking the family to IHOP for supper.
Discovering power is back on by 8:00pm = Frank telling me to go Christmas shopping, while he watches the kids.
Christmas shopping for about 3 hours at Walmart = Quicker checkout lines and arriving to a house full of sleeping kids at midnight.

3 days before Christmas

Youngest walking around with his sibling’s new flashlight = Black eye for my youngest daughter Ann, after Christopher gets mad and hits her with it.
Bored kids = Even more fighting
Kids getting in trouble = Many threats from parents that their toys were going back.
Telling my 8-year-old son that Santa isn’t going to bring him a present because of his actions = Hearing him state, “Doesn’t matter, cause your Santa anyway.”
Telling my 4-year-old daughter to behave or Santa Clause won’t bring her a present = A little girl crying her eyes out, for real!!!

2 days before Christmas

Dad & Mom having to go to work = Youngest one to day-care and the three older kids to a babysitter for the day.
Kids being at the babysitter’s house all day (on their best behavior) = Three kids letting off steam once they get home. (I’m talking a LOT of steam)
Little brother coming home with a present from a friend at day-care = Three older kids crying “It’s not fair, what about our present?”
Anxious kids asking about presents = More pissed off parents that declare Christmas is going to be cancelled.
Older siblings telling my 4-year-old that tomorrow is Christmas Eve = Four year old stating that tomorrow is Christmas and December 25th was Christmas Eve.

1 day before Christmas

Hubby having to go to work until 3:00pm (Luckily fool) = Mom threatening to kill kids if they don’t stop fighting and start picking up their toys.
Oldest daughter locking baby brother in the bathroom for a joke = A very pissed off Mom and a big brother to the rescue.  (He had to move my night stand, which blocks the other bathroom door, to get in and rescue his 2-year-old brother.)
Youngest son climbing up his dresser to get a pair of socks so he can join his older siblings outside = Chest of drawers falling on top of my little 2-year-old.
Lack of concern from older siblings when they found out about their brother’s accident = Mom on the floor in tears, having a Christmas meltdown.
Mom breaking down and crying = Kids actually cleaning the living room like I had asked them to do all day.
Dad arriving during Mom’s breakdown = Kids standing around saying, “Mom’s in the bathroom crying, but we don’t know why.”
My two oldest kids singing in the children’s Christmas choir = Needing to have them dressed and to the church by 4:20pm.  (Less than an hour after Frank arrived home from work.)
Watching my two oldest singing with the mass choir on Christmas Eve = Pride and thankfulness that our oldest daughter is here to sing at mass.  (Since 6 months ago, she had a brain tumor removed.)
Mom making baked zitti earlier in the day = Having a hot supper waiting for us after mass.
Letting the kids open one gift on Christmas Eve = Hearing excitement and disappointment when my youngest daughter says “I wanted some Stompy Slippers like Patrick.”  (However, they didn’t have any in her size, so I got her some Minnie Mouse slippers that can be used as a hand puppet.  No matter what I do, I can’t win!!)
Mom forgetting to make or buy cookies for Santa = Mom having to sacrifice one of her Reese’s peanut butter cup candy bars to set out with Santa’s milk.  (My oldest daughter asked me, “But what if Santa is allergic to peanut butter?”  My reply, “Then he won’t eat it.”)
Kids going to bed earlier than normal = Mom having the Christmas presents wrapped and gives Santa a chance to drop off his gifts at a decent hour.

Christmas Day

My two oldest kids excited about opening presents = Waking up around 4:00 am to hear them sifting through the presents under the tree.

Discovering my kids are awake WAY TOO EARLY = Telling them through gritted teeth, “If you don’t get back to bed and wait until your younger siblings wake up, all of your gifts will be going back!  And don’t even try waking them up, or you’ll be sorry.”.

Mom’s few minutes of letting her head spin around = Two kids actually staying in their room until a decent hour.

Watching ALL of the kids open presents that morning = Happiness, thankfulness and joy.  Not to mention some disappointment, whining and tears.  (You just can’t please everyone, all the time.)

Knowing all of our kids are healthy = The best Christmas present for Frank and I.

After reading through this story, I see that my friend is right.  Christmas is fun at our house.  It’s also crazy, loud, eventful and lively.  Going through those events at the time didn’t seem like fun.  But reading them now, years later, the bad feelings are forgotten.  They have been softened around the edges by the time.  So when I remember that Christmas in 2013, I have a warm and loving feeling in my heart.  Not the anger and despair I probably felt at the time.  🙂

I guess one of the miracles of Christmas is to create memories that will be cherished and remembered with a smile on your face many years later.