That has kind of been the holidays for me this year. For some reason, even though there has been so many great things happening around me, I've just found the holidays very lackluster and even, dare I say, disappointing.
Thanksgiving. I had that fabulous idea of going to Seattle for Thanksgiving. 8 days sounds really good on paper. But, when you live it with a non-sleeping, teething toddler in the worst stage of separation anxiety, you have just turned an 8 day vacation into 8 days of motherhood hell. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely loved seeing my family and a few close friends, but it really just reminds me how much I miss my other home. I miss how I feel going to church. I miss the conversations with my sisters and best friends. I miss watching my nephews grow up. And, as much as I love my little girl and would go to the end of the universe and back for her, she didn't give me a second's rest or break nor did the people who miss watching her grow up get to enjoy time spent with her.
December. Work and home have just been challenging. I won't say terrible or bad, although sometimes I would like to find the nearest bridge and take a plunge, but I digress. My students are challenging and I'm yet to see the fruits of my labor. AV, like I mentioned is magnet baby and is attracted to all things me. She has also decided that cribs are overrated. Why sleep in a box when you can stretch out in Mommy and Daddy's bed. Why go back to sleep when you can scream bloody murder and wake the whole neighborhood? So, with challenging days and challenging nights and me being a person who thinks 10 hours of sleep a night is just an okay night, I was left really drained and ready for some Christmas traditions.
Enter Christmas cookies. Seriously, it's like I don't even read my own blog (I'm probably the one who reads it the most. Weirdo.) Why do I attempt to bake? I know it leads to disaster. I know it does. The Hickey family is full of Christmas cookie baking maniacs. That's all there is to it. We get together one Saturday in mid December and bake. and bake. and bake. We're talking like at least 6 or 8 different kinds at a minimum of 2 dozen a pop. Lots o' cookies. So, why wouldn't I just half some of those recipes and do it on my own? My cookies turned out disastrous. And that might be an understatement. I had to put an entire tray under water and soak them all night because not a one of them was going to come off the tray of its own accord or even the gentle (or not so) nudging of the bigass barbeque spatula. That night was my Christmas meltdown. Ramon came home to find me sobbing over a tray of what would have been thumbprint cookies. They were likened more to pancakes and I was a mess. All I could say was, "I just want it to be Christmas."
I turned off the oven, left the kitchen a mess and went to bed at 8:45. In my long winter's nap, it occurred to me to stop trying to make Mexico Christmas like Seattle Christmas. It's too warm, it's too sunny; it's to Spanish-y. It's just not going to happen. Why not enjoy what Mexi-Navidad has to offer and celebrate the fact that I can do one without the other. So, on the 24th, we went to mass at 8:00, had dinner at 10:00 and AV went to bed at midnight on the ride home. She was amazing (until about 2:00 when occupy mommy-daddy bed reared its ugly head). Christmas morning we were up at 7:00 opening presents, like we should (according to me). I made eggs and sausage and cinnamon rolls and we had our friends over for Christmas brunch. We spent the day together as a family and it was just fine.
The word that has been coming to my mind the past few days is ABUNDANCE. It's what I have such a challenge recognizing. The abundance of blessings in our family. Abundance of health considering two weeks ago we weren't sure if Ramon's aunt would still be with us for Christmas, and now she is not only still with us but is out of the hospital and on the road to recovery. Abundance of joy that we have a beautiful and healthy child who loves us and who we love. Abundance of wealth as we spend our first of many Christmas mornings in our own home with food on our table, clothes on our backs, and presents under the tree.
Although, Christmas wasn't "Christmas" as I know it or expected it to be, it has brought me to a greater reflection of what I need to spend my time and energy creating. I need to create an atmosphere around me that recognizes the abundance of blessing that are showered on our family, both immediate and extended, every single moment of every single day.
With that, I don't exactly know how to give the holiday salutation. For me, it wasn't especially "merry" nor was it as joyous as it should have been. What I can hope for is this, for all of you, a year of abundant blessings for you and yours.