It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and by “wonderful” I of course mean “stressful, over-hyped, and mob mentality PMS-filled.” Because really, it’s not just us, right? EVERYONE is cranky? Like, “Happy Holidays! ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME?” kind of cranky? I want to be peaceful and calm and bright, I do. And I assume other folks do as well. But the pace of the season and the rushrushrush to finish school/work/life-goals before Christmas and/or the end of the year is just turning us all into giant jerkfaces.
(See, you can tell I’m working really hard on being gentler and kinder because I said “jerkfaces” instead of “raging assholes.” I am so proud of me! I mean, I was until I pointed out… oh, crap. Nevermind.)
Even Hippie School—bastion of love and light and kindness—seems to be floundering in a bit of less-than-lovely behavior, no doubt brought on by that osmosis that happens between stressed-out parents and their kids. And I am less than proud of my latest approach to this, which is more or less to look my child in the eye while he’s complaining about someone else and say, “Stop. STOP. Ask yourself: ‘Am I being a jerk right now? REGARDLESS OF THE JERKINESS OF ANYONE ELSE INVOLVED?’ If the answer is ‘yes,’ STOP IT.”
(I’m not saying this isn’t good advice. Heck, I’m working really hard on taking it to heart, myself. There’s that whole “two wrongs don’t make a right” thing, sure, but I find the lesson much more relatable when rephrased to “You only get to be upset with other people’s bad behavior when your own behavior is a shining example of kindness.” I tell you what, it takes the wind out of indignant sails more often than not, for children and adults alike.)
So anyway, people are cranky. I’m kind of cranky. And yet I am expected to be organized and stuff. So I’m working on that.
There’s upcoming holiday parties, so many of them! I don’t know how that happened. I am mostly holed up here at home, after all, and anti-social on top of that. But somehow we have all these invitations. And that reminds me of how people always laugh when I say I’m a hermit and they’re all “No you aren’t!” like I am just being silly. Penchant for exaggeration aside, I offer you this story as proof:
Last week, the doorbell rang one evening. We did not immediately run to the door, because the UPS guy often rings-and-runs and what’s the rush? But eventually Otto opened the door and there was a couple standing there, and as I rounded the corner, saying, “What did he bring?” (thinking it was UPS), I heard them introducing themselves and saying, “We’re your new neighbors across the street!”
I joined Otto and said hello and then said, “But… no one moved across the street…? The [family's name]s are still there!” And I felt very smug for both knowing their name AND that they were definitely still there, on account of how rarely I emerge from my
cave office. The wife pointed to the house NEXT to that one, and laughed, and said that was theirs. And so, I said, “Oh, did the [family's name]s leave? Did you just move in?”
And then this sweet couple looked at me like I had brain damage, and told us that they moved in TWO MONTHS AGO. Otto started laughing at me, but tried very hard to hide it.
And THEN Monkey came careening down the stairs and popped his head out, and we introduced him to the new neighbors, and finally I was able to relax because they said something about how “He must never play outside, we haven’t seen him” and I was able to exhale from being so unobservant and chuckle and point out that he usually goes out back, or down to the pond, and then the conversation went on from there.
It turned out they’re having a neighborhood Christmas party and wanted to invite us (even though we had no idea they existed for the last two months). So that was nice. Except that we have two other parties the same weekend, and altogether that is… well, that’s three more parties than I actually want to go to, is what it is.
Cleaning out my office has kick-started my need for ORGANIZATION, and as such I’m doing all sorts of other super important things, like going into the closet where I chuck Amazon packages as they arrive and actually figuring out what items I have for each kid and where all the stocking stuffers are and that sort of thing. Also I am shipping out the last of the holiday packages and cleaning things and generally not recognizing myself at all. But I find that staying very busy takes my mind off of everything else, like the people I wouldn’t mind beating to death with my office chair.
(Whoops! Sometimes I cross that thin line between “cranky” and “vengeful.” Sorry ’bout that.)
It’s all really fine. Even those three parties will be fine. I mean, probably. My folks are coming into town next week and my sweet Chickadee should be home shortly thereafter and then whatever issues might remain shall be solved by the liberal application of potato chips, ice cream, terrible television, and—for the grown-ups, anyway—wine. And if that fails, there’s always ample opportunity to watch Licorice vanquish all of the pillows on the couch. (I seriously need to make a video of that sometime. It’s hilarious.)
After all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.