Yes, yes, I know, no "holidays" with the "happy." Well, to me it is "Happy Holidays" because Christmas in my life has always been, and is now, a conglomeration of celebrations. My mother's birthday was on the 24th, M's birthday is on the 28th, Hannukah this year begins the 25th, Christmas of course is on the same day. Then there is the idea of these weeks being a secular celebration of life, light, consumerism (Yay Target and Wal-Mart, oh lovely Nordstrom's!).
This past week has been a busy one, having attended no less than three (3!) Christmas programs at each of the schools of the children. M's was the most chaotic by far, being at the pre-school where the students start at age 2. The result wasn't so much a group of angelic children on stage singing Christmas carols, but rather an explosion of running and crying children in pajamas racing to their moms and dads in the audience. Only the most mature kids (M being one of them) managed the long walk from the entrance to the stage. There was also the delightful moment where little Johnny was throwing the hay out of Baby Jesus's crib all over the set. No one interrupted him. Perhaps it was because he looked so, so very happy.
A's program was a mass of singing as well, with a performance or two on the recorder. Imagine the sound of thirty-five third-graders puffing away on their black and white plastic recorders...such harmony, such sweetness!
J's program was the pinnacle of performances in which he played the bass drum for a few songs and the snare for several others, the show a total of 35 songs by a minimum of 350 children occupying the chorus and the grand band. What a night! Junior high in its true nature. The many, many girls in the chorus looked so caught between worlds, not children, not grown, a strange set in short skirts and overly-done make-up during one string of songs, followed by a shift to pajamas, jogging arm-in-arm and throwing candy to the audience. At intermission, the girls giggled in the front of the gym in frighteningly intimidating cliques. The boys on the other hand gathered behind the gym, putting each other into trash cans and rolling the cans down the grassy hill, their wildness equally as intimidating. How amazing that they all returned at the right time to finish the program.
Busy, busy, busy! In between the programs, we attended Marie's funeral, battled awful head colds, entertained out-of-state company, attended a family reunion, and shopped and wrapped.
Today, I wrangled my kids for a photo for cards that I'll pass out at the upcoming parties. I suggested we take a walk down to the creek for a natural backdrop. That was when all hell broke loose. M wouldn't change out of her shorts and tank top. J fought like a bulldog to keep his blue gym shorts on, A was at his wit's end because M was copying him and wouldn't stop fighting for Sassy's leash. Sassy (because she is SO much a part of our family) was literally out of her mind with excitement at the prospect of a walk in the woods. Then there was D and I, griping at the children, getting a little loud, threatening spankings and groundings and a gift-less Christmas or a party-less birthday.
And it was so that we made our way across the street and down the very thick brush into the woods, noisy, crabby, with me carrying a tripod and camera, D with Sassy pulling him, the kids still fighting, refusing to cooperate. When we hit the bottom of the hill and I set the tripod down and tried...oh I tried...to take that first shot, I started to laugh at how we all must have looked. At just how noisy our walk was through the peaceful woods. Once I started to laugh, the kids caught on to the silliness and laughed too...oh yeah, it's Christmas at last!
Merry Christmas, my dear friends, and Happy, oh-so-happy Holidays from the entire Blissful Family of the Suburbs!