The quarter cup of coffee John left in the Keurig this morning is a sign; if you want it, drink it. It’s not nearly enough to fill a cup, and cold for that matter, but if you don’t want to put in the effort, suck it up, literally, because that's all that's in there, a suck of coffee. I opt to prepare a giant portion of steaming, black liquid for myself. Afterwards, I finish assisting my 10-year-old son in preparing breakfast and then retreat to the far end of the bar with my coffee, where I pop open my laptop and delight in my comfort zone.
As I bring the warm liquid to my lips, and swallow, and breathe, I begin to write the first sentence of this paragraph. Suddenly, my tweenager barrels into the kitchen, pulled into the realm of wakefulness by the smell of breakfast. She slides in next to me at the bar with her plate and wolfs down the first bite while simultaneously launching into a self-indulgent recollection of a dream that she’s just had. I only have the patience to say, “I’m not really able to give you my attention right now, so maybe you can tell your siblings instead” (thank you other children) as I pull the plug from its outlet with too much zest and head for the living room. I hear her sulkily deny all eager requests to hear her dream as I resituate myself.
No sense in pretending that I am entitled to be that rude. “Haven, I’m sorry. I just made too many commitments, they are catching up with me, and I took it out on you. I’m sorry.” She acknowledges me with a tip of her head while silently chewing. Now Olive, seeing that I am once again amiable, saddles up beside me to show me her latest drawing. It’s a picture of the gingerbread house, much like the one she covered in candy last night, riddled with details to be covered. And also she would like me to know that people in “magic-land” have moles on their faces that are much larger than mine. “You are lucky Mom, in magic-land people have to drag their moles on the ground when they walk because they’re so big!”
She’s right. I am lucky.
This beautiful morning, that I am now struggling to keep up with, is being thwarted by the repercussions of all those wonderful things that I filled my weekend with. I didn’t lesson plan. I didn’t make time to address my upcoming schedule. I didn’t communicate to myself, or anyone else, that I needed to make productive space for the future so I could hit the ground running instead of being a snarky, bossy grown up. I didn’t open my eyes and welcome the vast opportunities this day has to offer because I was too dang busy blowing off adulting and enjoying myself. Like filled to the brim Keurig kind of enjoyment.
The elation I felt after leaving my college campus this weekend (with a mutha-you-know-what-ing A!!!!), led to me peacefully pushing a shopping cart full of organic chicken through the pre-apocalyptic aisles of Costco and sharing a smile with every disgruntled holiday shopper I passed. Things started to lull as I got sucked into the time warp of Target, where I spent a luxurious half of an hour touching and comparing the 53 different textiles that consumers can choose from to keep the water in their shower. As fate would have it, John called at the moment I was leaving the aisle with a gold arrow embossed curtain and reminded me that we don’t need one. (Angi! The struggle is real!!)
Once home, I clung to the last strands of getting things accomplished and managed to bang out a clean kitchen. My saving grace was that dinner was being served at my mom-in-laws and all I had to do was show up. Huzzah! We ate dinner as a family and I genuinely relished Grandma Patsy’s spot-on, 83-year-old recollections of her past. To say that I felt gratitude for all of this is an understatement. The family that surrounds me and my children is a humbling experience that reminds me of any prior time in history when I took it for granted.
When I bowed out at bedtime to meet up with some friends, I traded all that responsible, mindful, and ‘determined to conquer all the things’ attitude for adult beverages, good friends that I rarely see, and copious amounts of laughter. It was a worthy endeavor, to say the least.
Don’t tell my buddies, but the next morning, after 5 hours of sleep, I regretted it. Regardless, dressing my little darlings and brushing hair at 8 am, in preparation for sitting on Santa’s lap, was an equally worthy endeavor, and clearly, if I want to have it all, I’m going to have to pay for it. Breakfast afterwards was a hit, thanks once again to my amazing MIL, who I can only imagine was just holding it all together after spending 48 hours with her own mother (Grandma Patsy) because we love the women that raise us but that raising part comes with a host of kinks; case in point, me shutting down my daughter’s dreams this morning…
I surrender myself to the couch as soon as I walk in the door after breakfast. Video games watch my kids while I throw the better part of a Sunday away. I successfully rally to stuff the kids with an early dinner before we depart for a second festivity. Loaded with $25 in candy, we join a troop of children at our neighbor Sonya’s house to deck individual homemade gingerbread houses out with every form of sugar imaginable. The amount of work that goes into this holiday endeavor is beyond the capabilities of my mind. Just know that Sonya is a freaking angel.
A friend and I take our children back to my house; two of mine have already experienced explosive, sugar-laden diarrhea, and the others are ramped to annoying as F' heights, on all forms of corn syrup. Thankfully, there is a video game to fix this; it's an outdated Wii that makes them move while demanding their focus. So, Courtney and I retire to the kitchen, where our husbands hide during holiday festivities and drink the remainder of their beers. We let the kids stay up too late and just flat out enjoy one another’s company.
That brings us back to today, when I chastise myself for not staying on track and half-assedly coerce the kids to home school themselves while I write an overly indulgent blog post (oh gawd, she learned it all from me!) Perhaps the reality is that allowing productivity to slide and living in the moment (even if it requires a round of Ibuprofen and a midday nap), is the only way to acknowledge this decked-out-in-lights season. I am too indebted to all the wonderful people that share their time with me and my family to begrudgingly require a flawless state of efficiency. We have to give ourselves permission to play catch up, and say sorry, and be less than our 110% selves. Otherwise, we might not get a chance to eat, drink, and be merry.