I came home from my work Christmas party last night with my heart pounding out of my chest, my eyes bugging out, a pit in my stomach, and my palms weeping. Had Jason come up behind me unexpectedly at some point, I'd probably have leapt through the ceiling drywall and would still be up in our attic crawlspace somewhere.
I suspect it had something to do with the 3 refills I got on my iced tea. But I think the biggest fault for my near-panic-attack lies with the insane demands we make on ourselves between December 17th and 24th. When I got home last night, after a party that made me less than cheerful (tight quarters, expensive drinks, a white elephant exchange that took an awkward turn) I still had to do treats for Ainsley's school-day party, treats I was way too bone-tired to want to do.
I would write down all that I have to do between now and Christmas morning to remind myself, but I don't think I need reminding. My to-do list is on a constant thought-loop inside my head. It runs around all day and all night, popping up at random times like a little demon. Have you ever gotten one of those emails so popular right around Halloween where you click on a link and start to play a game, or look at song lyrics, or follow a young girl riding her bike through a perilous-looking maze and all of a sudden Linda Blair's The Exorcist face comes at you, making your soul leave your body for a few seconds? That's what's been happening to me inside my own head. But instead of a demonic child popping up to make my hair stand on end, it's a relentless stream of tasks.
It looks something like this. I'm in bed, the lights are dim, and I should be dreaming of sugarplums. And it starts off that way. Then the hijack starts.
Ahh, Ainsley was so sweet today. Sweet. Like the praline french toast I am making for Christmas morning for my side of the family. Mmmm, pralines. Which reminds me: I need brown sugar. Can't forget that. Anyway, back to Ainsley. This is such a fun age. I remember when my nephew was that age...Crap! Kyle! I still have to buy his present. Okay, okay, I'll do it this weekend. I should be able to get out Sunday. Sunday I don't have anywhere I have to be. It's even supposed to snow. Oh, how pretty. Wait! Snow! Damn! What will I do if the roads are bad? I'll have to postpone finishing my shopping I guess. There's plenty to do around here Sunday. Like wrap presents and drink hot chocolate. Oh, my God, I haven't wrapped a single thing, it's going to take hours. Okay, calm down. Calm down. It will all get done. The groceries. The 2 gifts left to buy. The wrapping. The cooking. The baking. And figure out what Jason's sisters need me to bring to his family's thing. And make it. And shop for it. And DEAR LORD IS IT JANUARY 1st YET? Where's the Tylenol PM? EEEEK!
So...yeah, my strings are tuned a little higher than usual.
Making pretzel turtles is like, the easiest thing in the world, but I struggled through it. I thought I was going to break into tears because putting a Rolo on top of a pretzel struck me as just so damn much to do.
"Jason, I think I'm dying," I said. "I'm flippin' out here."
"Too much caffeine," he said, munching on a pretzel, drinking a beer. "You'll be fine." Gosh, I hate how men don't have to do anything this time of year but buy us pretty flannel pajamas and enjoy the food.
While the kid's school treats were cooling, we turned on the TV. Glory of glories, we caught the SNL Christmas special just before "D*** in a Box". And then we saw Alec Baldwin introduce Schweddy Balls! The slow build of that skit, where you're already chuckling at the straight-laced NPR ladies and their double entendres before you even remember Alec's character's last name is Schweddy..hilarity ensues. And my stress level lowered to such a place that, after rolling around in bed for only 30 minutes, my worry demons took a break and I was able to take a short winter's nap. My eyes did fly open 10 minutes before my alarm went off because I remembered I didn't pick anything up at the store to bring to my own Christmas lunch at work and would technically need to stop on my way in. But that's just par for the yuletide course.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we over-schedule, over-eat, over-cook, over-buy? When do I get to over-nap? Over-Unibroue? Over-cry over a Hallmark movie? That's the kind of holiday indulgence I could really get behind, if only there were time.
Today is my last day of school of 2009, so I have that going for me. Things will get finished. It might kill me and leave me a ragged mess, but they will get finished. And on Christmas afternoon, after Santa has come, and my family has eaten and left, and all that's left are torn wrapping paper and mangled bows, I will wonder where it all went.
Such is Christmas, I guess.
This is possibly my last post before Christmas Day. Clearly, I have too much going on for my own good, and blogging will be pretty far down on my list. I will be back in time for some New Year's resolutions and hopefully some good stories from Christmas for you.
Take care of yourselves. Stop and smell the poinsettias, and remember...it will all be over before you know it.