Wintry lake scene
 Sometimes I think it would be amazing to have a winter wonderland lake view out my window. I mean, look at those frosted tree branches! That still lake reflecting the blues of the trees! Unfortunately, we are having a usual southern California winter… which means summer keeps sneaking back in every few days or so. But in between those 80 degree days, we’re starting to feel the chill creep in ever so subtly… I even wore boots to my son’s last soccer game of the season (and only slightly regretted it). But, no matter if the weather realizes it or not, it is officially Christmastime. My kids and I adore this time of year. My son is affectionately nicknamed Mr. Christmas, because he lives for the decorating and the music and the gingerbread houses and the whole lot of it. My daughter is all about playing with our little village set up and the Little People nativity set, eating cookies and candy, and hugging Santa, Mrs. Claus, Frosty, Rudolph, and anyone else she can spot this month. And I basically just want my kids to have the most magical childhood ever, and Christmas lends itself nicely to making that happen. For once, I planned ahead–in mid-November–and made a list of all the fun holiday events and traditions I wanted to make sure my family got to experience this year.  There may have been several events that snuck up on me last year when I did more of a “come what may” strategy to the season’s festivities. Not this year! I finally listened to my husband’s advice and put everything on the calendar, with alerts, so we wouldn’t miss a thing. (Yes, he is regretting that advice now that every December weekend is already filled. He’s fine. He can go out with the guys in January.) We’ve got the tree lighting on Main Street! We’ve got Camp Christmas up in the mountains! We’ve got the school Christmas movie night! We’ve got the local kids’ theater group’s Christmas play! We’ve got family Christmas nights at church! We’ve got another nearby church importing snow for a sledding hill! And don’t forget squeezing in a visit to Santa somewhere in there (I’m just going to pretend my 8-year-old didn’t tell me yesterday he’s too old for Santa visits now.) Everything was scheduled out perfectly. We were not going to miss a single holiday-related activity this year. My kids were thrilled. My husband less than. Our first December weekend was the most packed, with activities Friday through Sunday.  So of course my son got sick on Thursday. 😩 Bye bye, school movie night. Bye bye, sledding on real imported snow in the church parking lot. There was a lot of disappointment this past weekend.  I’ve been working on that a lot lately, letting go of expectations and embracing reality. Because it turns out that whether you plan out every day of December or just wing it, there’s always going to be something outside your control that can swoop in and derail everything. You can either choose to be annoyed, sad, disappointed, whatever, or you can make the best of it. I have to actively choose to let these things go, or they hang over me. They show up as relentless reminders that I only have a certain number of Christmases with my kids while they’re young and I’d better make them all count. And, look, there goes this year’s school movie night. He only has 5 more.  So, I chose to make the best of it. On Saturday night, my little sickie and I snuggled up on the couch with blankets, Kleenex, cookies, and the Hallmark channel. (He chose A Christmas Cookie Catastrophe, I know you’re wondering.) We had our own special movie night, and you know what? It wasn’t the Christmas event we’d planned on–but way more memorable. I’ll definitely remember his excitement in trying to figure out who stole the cooke recipe, and how he happily snuggled up under my arm while explaining his reasoning for each new suspect. 

Thankfully, he’s feeling so much better now. Here’s to next weekend of fun Christmas activities!

Any other moms or dads get that “only so many Christmases left!” anxiety about your kids? How do you deal? And if you don’t, can you share your secret to a happy and mellow life? 😂

Originally published March 26, 2018.