Tuesday, December 24, 2019
The December calendar is full of events like parties, dinners, charitable projects, performances, and traditional outings. Each requires some preparation, like gifts bought or clothing cleaned. Then there's the actual holiday, where you are juggling the dinner you host around who can be here when, and what else is happening. Everyone wants to visit, but some people should not be scheduled together, some have to catch a plane, and many have obligations elsewhere. Getting a traditional Christmas meal ready on time requires extensive lists and schedules. And that's not just food- do we have enough chairs for everyone? What would these people want to drink? Do we have time to make more ice? Oh, you're bringing dessert? Thanks for telling me after I've made two. Dinner is after church, no I don't know how long it will last, you are supposed to come with us. Take a guess. We are opening gifts for some people after dinner -have they been wrapped yet?
And no matter how busy you are, you still have to remember to do the everyday things like pay bills on time, water the plants, walk the dog, and of course, your job. There is a slight advantage to having adult children with cars. Gothgrrl can go to the airport to pick up Princess and the French Prince so I can cook, but if I didn't have two adult children, that run either wouldn't be necessary, or I'd have to do the four-hour round trip myself. I feel lucky that my mother has a ride here.
The dinner itself includes people who have family ties but don't even know each other. An out-of-town relative might end up sitting by her niece's stepdaughter's toddler. Who is sitting on a piano bench. If anyone else shows up, they can sit on the couch.
Is it worth all this? There's only so many years you are able to do it, and it's for the family. Middle-aged women take care of elderly parents, broke children, and grandchildren needing supervision all year long, so holidays are just life on steroids. At the same time, we are preparing the next generation for taking over when the time comes. But you have to make a point of relaxing during the actual gathering and focusing on the people you love being there, or you can miss it completely. Yeah, it will be worth it when they want to come again next year.