I really do resemble the Grinch at times.
The kids wanted to bring all the decorations up from the basement while I was doing it, and I immediately put a stop to that. Nope. No can do. We need to decorate the tree, and that's just about enough festiveness for one night.
Anyway, I'm standing in the kitchen cringing a little at the Christmas music on the tv, the younger three happily putting ornaments on the tree, my husband supervising. (For as anal as I am about the lights, he's the same way about uniform ornament distribution. It seems to work for us.)
Aidan looks at me and asks the question that I knew was coming.
Mom....why do you hate Christmas?
I tried the best I could to inject humor into my answer, since that's the world he's accustomed to. Told him about how even though most of the funny Christmas movies are over the top, they are all based in truth, and go pretty far to explain why the holiday season isn't just 24/7 awesomesauce once you're an adult.
The scene with the grandfathers taking dueling naps and the grandmothers decorating the gingerbread house in National Lampoon's? Oh yeah...stuff like that totally happens. The bong...bong...bong....of the doorbell that signals the arrival of the insanity? That too. Every family has drama, every family has people with different expectations, every family has someone drinking in the kitchen. It's just how it is.
When you're a kid, you're too amped up to notice. You're either super excited about whatever you got, or too pissed about what you didn't get to notice what the adults are doing. Plus, you're running on a week long sugar high...which explains the obligatory mid-day temper tantrum by the kid who should have outgrown that shit years ago.
Holidays are stressful, and Christmas is the grand-daddy of them all.
He sort-of nodded his head in agreement. He sees the parallels in the movies the older he gets. I mean, by now he's old enough that he's gotten both the giant pink bunny suit AND the red ryder bb gun. He's been Ralphie. He IS Ralphie. He knows.
Then he asked if that's why I hate Christmas...because it's like the movies.
No, honey. I don't hate Christmas. I never have. I don't hate it now. I don't want you guys to think I do.
I sat him down in the room away from the Christmas tree and the festiveness and the twinkling lights.
It's just that Christmas is hard sometimes when you're a grown up.
He paused for a second, took a deep breath and said he missed Grandpa too.
He gets it.
This kid. He's pretty awesome.
We finished decorating the tree, sat down for dinner and debated names for the Elf. He wants to name him Gandalf. Ashley wants to name him Gollum.
Yep, they're my kids. I haven't completely screwed them up.