Christmas is apparently next week. As I have been choosing to ignore everything around me with the exception of the cocktail shaker and my torrid relationship with the North Suffolk Public Library, this somehow managed to escape my notice until this morning when Sutton asked if Christmas was tomorrow and I had to think about it (for all I knew, it really COULD have been tomorrow) and figure out exactly when Christmas WOULD be here. (As a side note, I have this theory that I could technically put Christmas off indefinitely as my children obviously have no concept of time. I would have to leave the tree up, and once we broke out the pool pass and sundresses, they might become suspicious, but then again, maybe not.)
True, there have been signs that Christmas was rapidly drawing near. The house across the street installed a large, lighted, inflatable chimney that boasts Snoopy (in a Santa hat) peeking from the top. I enjoy watching it topple over every night when the wind picks up. I have received a few assorted Christmas cards, mostly from people I can't stand and whom I wish would take me off of their Christmas card list (although the upside is that should I ever decide to have them killed, I will always have an updated home address). I think the kids get out of school for winter break at some point, although I'm not certain when this happens and suspect I won't know for sure until we arrive for the drop-offs and I notice that the parking lot is empty. (When this happens, I intend to just drop them anyway, as I figure it will give me a good hour or so of free time before they flag down someone with a cell phone and track me down.)
Sometimes I think about how I can't get this time back, and it makes it hard to stomach all the happiness I'm probably missing. I'll never get Sutt and Belly's 3rd and 5th Christmases back, not the goodness, and the only memories I have of it involve hospitals and cancer. Third and fifth Christmases are supposed to be good times for all involved. It's frustrating that there are no do-overs in real life. It also leads me to try harder this year, which believe it or not I'm doing.
Yesterday, we baked Christmas cookies after school. It wasn't that bad--they helped put the shapes on the baking stone. After they baked and cooled, I gave each kid a bowl of green frosting, red frosting, and a cup of sprinkles. (Sutt used all of his sprinkles on the first cookie, then spent the next half hour laughing at how "silly" he was. Belly mixed her frosting together and turned it gray, because "Gray is a great color for Christmas!") It was nice to see them so excited over something so small and easy. (The subsequent sugar high from licking frosting off of the utensils wasn't quite as nice.) The point is, as I said, I'm trying. Last year I just taught them how to mix Mommy a strong martini (and a useful lesson that has been).
There are people across the world having wonderful Christmases, miserable Christmases, joyous Christmases, and lonely Christmases. To each and all, I wish the same as I'm hoping to find myself at some point this year: peace, and strength in the knowledge that, somehow, we are probably all in this together.