The Day Holiday Chaos Took Over

I’m a lady with a plan. Well, it used to be that way before breast cancer and BRCA2. Now I’m more like a lady with a daily planner…and a note-taking app on her phone…and a chunky cube of obnoxiously-neon Post-It Notes…and alarms set to go off frequently…

I like to have my ducks in a row, an outline of the task, a strategy in place. I must have been sucked into some alternate dimension, though, because none of those things are my current reality.

Christmas has become chaos this year, but I’m not as panic-stricken as I would have suspected. Last night I read a stack of books with Baby #4 instead of baking cookies. I drove Baby #2 to hockey practice, and we enjoyed comfortable silence in between short conversations instead of holiday music on the radio. I laid on Baby #1’s bed this morning as she told me about the ins and outs of her day yesterday instead of wrapping the presents waiting on the kitchen table. I sat with Baby #3 at the piano before school as he played Christmas carols when I should have been addressing cards to be mailed.

And I’m not sorry about any of it. Maybe I will be when the crunch time truly hits, but I would like to think I’m finding Christmas in these little moments that might someday become big memories.

I was shocked the other day to open the Christmas Journal I have faithfully kept since 2002 and find nothing is recorded for last year. Nada. Zip.

The offending Christmas Journal

After my heart stopped pounding against my rib cage, the panic subsided. Some disappointment remained, and sadness, too. I’m not the organized person I used to be. I make more mistakes than I ever did before, and it isn’t just now during the holidays. I was the mom that never forgot to pack the water bottle, sign the form, send in the money. I recorded our memories from holidays, celebrations, and milestones. I took pictures at every event and gathering we attended. Heck, I could get all of my grocery shopping done on one day for the entire week!

I’m not that person anymore.

That makes me angry and mournful on some days, but I’m getting better at accepting it. I’m working on ways to adapt to it, too, and be happier with myself. I exercise, I read, and I create all in the hopes of strengthening not only my physical state but my mental one as well. For this Christmas, I just want to be present in the moment. I want to enjoy every second of spending time with my family and loved ones. I don’t want to be looking so far ahead that I forget to experience now.

Maybe I’ve finally discovered the perfect plan.

4 thoughts on “The Day Holiday Chaos Took Over

  1. Brandyn Campbell

    Yes, the perfect plan indeed. I am a mess this Christmas and don’t feel bad about it. You have the absolute right idea. The big stuff will get done, and the wonderful memories you’re creating for yourself and your family mean more than all the packed water bottles in all the world.

    Merry Christmas to our wonderful friends! xoxo

    1. amy Post author

      Merry Christmas to you, (and kudos for figuring this out much earlier along in your parenting journey than I did!)

  2. Kelly

    Oh Dear Amy,
    I almost didn’t read this post as I should be checking to see if I got everyone a Christmas Present, but I just love your words, and I’ve been rewarded with exactly what I needed to hear. For different reasons I feel very much the same way, so many things gone by the waist side and I’m noticing that my girls are noticing and struggling with the guilt associated with it, but I’m trying to be here for them and not necessarily the same exact stuff we normally do, but just being together. Thank you for your words and I hope in years we look back at these rebuilding years we smile that things may not have been done but people were still loved.
    I totally showed up at Connor’s first Christmas show as it was ending. Doh.

    1. amy Post author

      I can sympathize, but it is reassuring to know we aren’t alone, isn’t it? We are all trying to balance our expectations and reality. These are teaching moments, for us and for the kids! Merry Christmas to you and yours!


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