Alleviate my guilt. But only if you want to. Otherwise, I will feel guilty.

So here's the thing. It's almost Christmas. Probably, you know this already.

And when it's almost Christmas, there is suddenly a flurry of activity that requires buying things and supporting things and donating things and planning things and baking things and taking the kids to things. I remember this from when I was a kiddo. The stifling hot holiday pageants at school where inevitably I wore velvet on an 80 degree night and some kid in front of me on the risers in the cafeteria puked his guts out just as were started singing Silent Night.

I remember the class holiday parties, eating the homemade cookies with red and green sprinkles, and the one kid inevitably puking up his cookies all over the floor on the the way to the bus.

And, despite the puking and sweating and rushing around, these things were fun. They created that holiday spirit in me as a child. Thanksgiving = put up the tree = count presents = sit on Santa's lap = sing songs at school = eat cupcakes at school = out of school = SANTA COMES OMG TEH AWESOME.

Christmas was fantastic when I was a kid. Sparkly and sweet and glorious and wonderful.

I'm sure it was hectic and debt-inducing and insane for my parents, because that is what it's becoming for me. Only, now we have the added pressure of keeping the family well and getting everyone to Cincinnati in one piece and then back home again in time to celebrate Christmas in our own living room.

The focus on health and buying fleece and talking to Medicaid and Cincy nurses on the phone equals me falling behind on proper Christmas stress. I signed up to donate items and/or money to needy families. Have yet to do it. I have emails from class parents asking for money so they can buy giftcards for teachers. I don't have exra money to give. There are two school winter festivals coming up – one today and one Monday, and I don't think we can go to either one. Maybe the one tonight, if the wee one is up to it, but he's still a bit puny after his bout with the flu and I am trying to keep everyone under lockdown so we don't get re-sick just hours before the trip.

The only reason the kids have any presents is because I can buy things online, thank goodness, and because we needed a lot of stuff for the trip that I can wrap and they can unwrap early. I feel like family Christmas-wise, we're good. We will have a small, lovely Christmas and the kids will be happy.

But Christmas Season Expectation-wise, I have created a swirling charybdis of fail. I feel incredibly guilty that the kids will miss their holiday parties and festivals. I feel incredibly guilty that I can't buy a hundred dollars worth of giftcards and give them to all our teachers and caregivers. I feel incredibly guilty that the baking I'm going to do is for snacks to take in the car on our trip, and not for pot lucks or for families that need it more than we do.

Is this part of Christmas As A Grown-Up? The guilt?

What can I do to not seem like a busy, selfish person? Promise I'll do better one day? That doesn't seem very effective.

I will just have to throw my love to the world with energy and force of will. Just a fierce I AM HERE, I KNOW I SHOULD DO BETTER shout into the wind. That is going to have to do.

In the meantime, I worry about Ike's fiberoptic endoscopic swallow study and the bronchoscopy, both coming up next week if he can stay well. I worry about the wee one and his sudden onset on constant illness (stress? being in a portable? genetics? [I was constantly sick in the 3rd grade, too]). I worry that the wee-er one will be permanently scarred because her mommy keeps her home from parties at school (because we are leaving that day to begin our journey). I worry about the guilt I feel and feel guilty for all worry because things could be so much worse. They HAVE BEEN so much worse. They could become so much worse at any moment.

And so the Christmas guilt worry spiral is in full swing as I pack our bags.

I shout into the wind: I'M SORRY FOR FEELING GUILTY WHEN I HAVE SO MUCH, AND I'M SORRY FOR NOT GIVING BACK. I WILL DO BETTER.

I will do better.

Just please let us make it to Cincy in one piece, and please have Ike-a-saurus be healthy.

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9 thoughts on “Alleviate my guilt. But only if you want to. Otherwise, I will feel guilty.

  1. Be kind to yourself. The kids won’t remember the random holiday parties. They will remember a wonderful, healthy Christmas with their family – and presents, of course 🙂
    Don’t beat yourself up.

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  2. You get that you have a whole lot going on, right? You have a full plate. You are what ENOUGH looks like. Don’t take on more. Everyone in your life understands this and would be horrified to find, somehow, they were contributing to your guilt. You are surrounded with love, and that is the good part of ENOUGH.

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  3. Hey,Guilt is the gift that keeps on giving. I am Italian AND Catholic so I KNOW about guilt. Really, even my mother would tell you to knock it off! Your kids and family are number 1 and the writers above me are correct. The kids won’t remember the parties and the room mothers will get over it. In 100 years who will give a shit? Everyone in your life, who matters, understands so move on. Just take care of you and yours for now. There will be plenty of time later to take care of others.
    Merry Christmas!

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  4. I have learned that sometimes we just have to say, “All well.” and do what we need to do to keep our family going. Whether that mean no Christmas cards sent out this year (for my family) or no gift-cards sent out this year (for your family), it’s just simply, “All well.” Interestingly enough, this month there’s guilt, but next month – no associated guilt…hmmmmmm. I’m ready for it to be January:).

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  5. Hope all are healthy for your Cinci trip and that all is well once you get there. Thanks for this post. I feel this way sometimes, too, and I’m not even trying to take a toddler to another state for a fiberoptic swallow study for the holidays.

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  6. I think everyone who knows you wouldn’t think twice about you not showing up for the latest party/festival/whatnot at school. You have gone through more in the past few years than many face in a lifetime. Let the guilt go and know we are all grateful that Ike is doing well. Hang in there!

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  7. So they will miss the parties for now, maybe. But they will remember the “different” Christmas when the whole family was in the new car and drove to Cinci. The will remember a trip to a zoo they had never seen before and tell everyone they meet afterwards what a great trip they had this Christmas. It’s funny what we remember. Who knows,someone may lose a tooth on the way or get to see a pink castle or even learn all the Christmas songs of long ago! So try to have a little fun along the way!

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  8. Oh, the guilt. I am in a boatload of it right now. Massive, crappy, leaking boatload of it. I am not sure I can alleviate yours but this should make you laugh at least.
    Today, I forgot to order the pizza for my daughter’s preschool Christmas party. Which I couldn’t attend due to being at the son’s school for his teacher appreciation lunch classroom coverage. Where I was at for an hour when I got the text asking where I ordered the pizza from. That I collected for. I didn’t order it. I completely forgot.
    It worked out (a mom ran to Randalls and got frozen pizza which was microwaved. yum. yea.) but OH. SHIT. This is probably the biggest guilt I have had in quite some time. The mental picture of the 3 and 4 year olds sitting patiently, hungry, sends me over the edge.
    I forgot. Can’t wait to see what I forget tomorrow. My bra? My pants? hmmmmmmm. Merry Christmas kids. Love, the grinch.

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  9. I so frequently think to myself, ‘Is it really this hard for everyone else?’ It’s my own little pity party, and as much as I am trying VERY hard to stop having it, I know I am allowed because, damn it, my circumstances ARE just a bit harder than everyone else’s at times.
    And then I move on and I spare as many kind words and thoughts as I can to those I know have it harder than me. We just do the very best we can. Some years we are going to have more to give, some years less. You are doing great!

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