Saturday, November 27, 2010

That Time of Year

Looking out the window, the snow continues to remain. I think winter is finally here. Although there's talk of 40 degrees tomorrow, whatever melts will likely freeze by nightfall and be covered with more fluffy precipitation, at some point. Now that Thanksgiving is over, I gave into the kids' reminders of putting up the Christmas tree, and all the rest of the decorations. Our house is now aglow--cozy and warm, with the flicker of corn kernels, set aflame.

Sounds like a good place to camp out for the next 3 or 4 months, doesn't it? I did a lot of hibernating when I was on layoff. Too bad motherhood doesn't have a layoff period*LOL* My job was seasonal, so by the time the holidays rolled around, I was on break...until the next holiday, Valentine's Day, came. Then after everyone got their roses, and we were sure we didn't want to see another flower until spring, we were on break, again, until the end of March. Not a bad deal, if you ask me. So while winter is not my favorite season, it comes close to being so because of the slower pace and time to catch up on indoor projects. Also a good time to go cross-country skiing. I've made some tracks already in our snowy fields. Maybe I'll melt away the 'post-baby belly' after all.

I thought that this year, I wouldn't go Black Friday shopping, with the rest of the world, after how tired I was last year. Who really wants to get up at 3AM and stand in line? I heard that some stores were opening at midnight this year. I was tempted to go, but then sleep seemed more appealing by the time I would need to leave.

Instead, I got myself and our kids, on the road, by 10AM. We went to the mall and endured the crowds, lines, and outbursts of temper by both of my children. The screams, kicking and tears were flowing, quite freely, in one children's clothing store. My daughter, crying, wanted me to buy her boy's PJ's. I didn't care that they were boys, but did she really need another pair of footie jammies? My son was also crying because the snowman jammies he wanted didn't come in the footie style, but rather, in a 2-piece set. And he didn't want to give up the seat in the stroller, back to his sister. I think every person in that store could hear us(it wasn't a big store). But I calmly handed my payment to the gal at the register, not backing down on my position. I no longer sit in judgment of parents with screaming children. At times, I am one of them.

I promised them candy, out of the gumball machines, if they were good. I think they did pretty well, all things considered. We ate lunch in a food court that literally had only one table left. We shared a plate of Japanese food. For 6 bucks, the three of us ate lunch, sitting next to a mom and her daughter--out shopping together, getting some girl time. It was fun to talk to them, and not mind that we were strangers to each other. I was thankful that they let us sit next to them. I'm also thankful(not usually)for 25 cent machines that dispense small tokens of sweet silence!

Here's what I find funny, about Black Friday. They send you a paper that weighs about 3 pounds, chalk full of advertisements. The colorful ads promise good deals in the term of "Door Busters". So that somehow gets us wound up to go out at all hours of the night in order to satisfy our need for this or that item. People line up, shoulder to shoulder, at some places. Later on, the evening news appears, showing video footage of all these people and how bad it was that someone almost got trampled, trying to get through the doors of a toy store when they finally opened up.

Here's the kicker: they call it door busters for a reason. For some of us, just hearing it phrased that way may indirectly cause some of the negative behavior we see, played out in the masses. Maybe words are that powerful. What we see, read, or hear influences us, does it not? Or maybe we're just selfish by nature, and turn into tantrum-bound children, under the right environment. Just ask my kids.

I came home with a few goodies. Ironically, I have to go back up to that mall and make another exchange. I'm not doing well in judging how clothes really fit me, these days. All the jeans have spandex in them, which is great, but sometimes that denim stretches to a point of no longer staying on your bumper!*LOL* I'm glad that my favorite store allows returns on worn merchandise. That's how you know its a quality place to shop--when they can deal with picky customers, like me--then you know they're good.

The holidays are a great time of year. I'm so happy that my kids like Christmas music. Some of you may find it annoying because it seems to play earlier and earlier, with each passing season. But I really like it. It puts me in the right mood and helps me focus on what is important. We only get to sing these songs, once a year, so I'm taking in my full 6 weeks of enjoyment. In addition to the sounds, I love the lights, the smells and scents of burning candles, cookies baking, breads full of spice. It's a celebration that invokes all of the senses. No wonder we feel kind of a let down when its all over. A song I heard, recently, alluded to 'if only it were Christmas, everyday.' That might drive some of us a little nuts, but in my heart, it kind of is that way, for me. Without all the commercial fanfare, of course. Well, ok, maybe a little. Retail therapy?

This time of year, we often see family that is, more or less, not a part of our every day lives. That can be great, but it can also be stressful. I enjoyed Thanksgiving. I was sad that I didn't get to see those who couldn't make it, but overall, it was fun. No pressure to bring gifts, instead, making all the food. That's the busy part. The first Thanksgiving I hosted was an experience. I was pregnant, my mom was battling cancer, and I left half of the gizzards in the tail end of the bird!

I remember being so exhausted, trying to multi-task several dishes, all at once. But I was determined to do it. It would be the first, and only time, I could cook for my mom. She was pretty frail, by then. Our house tends to be on the cool side, so we put her chair right next to the corn stove. My grandpa also brought up his little fireplace heater so she could have extra heat while taking a nap. The table we set was so pretty. Guess I made my grandma proud that day. Maybe she was smiling down on us as we ate together.

Enjoy the time that you have with your loved ones. Make it a good memory to cherish and recall, so that when you have one of those days, you can pull out a picture of a good day, in your mind. Happy holiday season to you all. He is my reason for celebrating because He gave it all, for us.