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I’m being a bit of an ass hole this holiday

frugie blog being an ass hole

It’s the week of Christmas and I’m pretty much panicking. The presents need to be wrapped. Some still need to be bought. I have all of my 75 or so cards to be addressed and posted. Some need to be sent overseas, so that requires a trip to the post office- WHICH I ABHOR!

So I’m feeling panicked.

And then I had a reality check.

I’m an ass hole.

I’m worried about the abundance around me when others have hardly enough.

There’s my friend Beth. She’s the one with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. I’m sure in her mind she’s wondering if this is her last Christmas with her kids. Especially since just this week she lost 5 or so friends of her’s in the metastatic community. Not to mention the jerk face guy from Komen who basically walked away from her when she asked him for more dedicated funding for research. I would say Beth isn’t worried about Christmas cards. (http://cultofperfectmotherhood.com/komen-is-not-coming-to-save-us/)

I have a cousin Clare, also stage IV breast cancer. It’s not often you know two people who are dying from the same disease. We wish for more time at Christmas to get everything done. They’re just wishing for more time period.

When the song on the radio comes on, “I’ll be Home For Christmas” by Josh Groban, and the men and women stationed overseas serving our country leave recorded messages to their loved ones back home, I can’t help but cry. They know it’s their duty. They serve and protect no matter what. But missing out on your kids’ Christmas morning would break my heart. And they do it. They are our heroes.

We tell ourselves that we only need to do so much. That it’s okay if the  cookies don’t get baked or the packages get sent late. But deep down we’re still resenting our lack of over achievement. We look at Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook and think, ‘why can’t I do that?’ We look at damn Elf on the Shelf set ups and smack ourselves on the head for forgetting that damned Elf for the second night in a row.

So I know what it feels like when we let our self loathing seep in to cloud our supposed Christmas joy. And here I’m telling you once again how to look past the minutia to remember the important things. Right?

I’m not preaching. I’m just trying to give myself a kick in the pants.

There’s a lot I didn’t do. I didn’t attend church this season. That bothers me because I love the Advent time. I just had interruptions or things going on that prevented me from getting up early on those Sunday mornings. I didn’t give to the Giving Tree this year either since I wasn’t there to collect the tags. But I’m also freaking out about my own bank account. Which is dumb since we have all that we need, but yet, it still seems to end up with more month than money as the days go by.

However, there’s a lot I did do.

I got up at 5 every morning to get Emma off to choir. I got the tree up, the gifts bought, the house in order and still continued working on my YouTube channel. Which, hello? is like a job. It is my job. As much as people wonder what the heck it is I do, that’s what I do. I didn’t have a complete melt down-throw-myself-on-the-floor-freak-out, even though I wanted to. Which hey- that’s something right??

And the best part- Emma is world’s better than she was at this time last year. We had visits to the ER for chronic pain, we missed out on things like choir concerts, visits to Santa, and hanging out with friends. She missed school, she was miserable. Not this year. She’s babysitting, singing, decorating, wrapping, going to school, giving me all the sass she can!! And I am so grateful for it. It really is last year’s Christmas wish come true. So what if it’s 12 months late.

Here’s my advice for managing these next couple days.

Pick one thing. Pick the thing that gives you joy, that you can send all your positive energy to that says, ‘this is Christmas. This is how I will remember the season and embrace it.’

Give yourself the allowance to not get everything done. To lasso your sanity or whatever is left of it by letting things off your list. Watch frickin’ Hallmark Channel movies. These completely help me forget all my troubles. And then remember again how dirty my house is and why I can’t wear heels in snow.

I’m embracing the children I have who are healthy, the roof over my head, and the husband that hogs the covers.

My Christmas memories as a child are the feeling I had in my house with my parents- feeling cozy, feeling safe. I remember Cabbage Patch dolls and Barbies, sure. But I remember the cups of tea my dad made, the goose my mom cooked that filled the house with savory scents that if I smell today, takes me back to 1978. We didn’t have fancy trips to the city to see the Nutcracker. Or big parties to attend and lavish gifts. We had each other. I remember the hand made matching Christmas outfits for me and my sister! Mom was very good with a sewing machine and a Butterick pattern.

Our children will remember how they felt. Not what they didn’t get.

They will remember the joy you gave them just by not losing your shit.

 

I’m not as super as I think. Or, I have it good part 2.

The other day I was doing my errands that included dropping off the dry cleaning, going to the post office, dropping off the library books, delivering art projects for PTA, picking up cat food, shopping for Father’s day gifts, the usual groceries. Coming home to put stuff away. Run the dryer, empty the dishwasher. Plan dinner. Scoop the cat box. Check emails, make a cup of tea. Sit.

Sometimes I get actual laundry folded and some volunteer work done. Maybe some vacuuming, toilets scrubbed. Hmm, floors? Not usually.

I felt pretty accomplished. Pretty great. And then I thought, really? This isn’t so great. This is easy. I don’t have to carry my baby on my back and get water at the river.

I don’t have to wait in line for vaccinations. Hide in a hut from guerilla soldiers. Wait for the electricity to turn on in the city to get  some hot water to make dinner.

Why do I feel I need the accolades? There’s women out there, fighting each and every day for their very survival and that of their children.  Sure, I do a good job for my kids. I do my best. And aren’t I lucky to be born in a country of peace and prosperity?

I sponsor a woman through Women for Women International. This is my third ‘sister’ that I have donated a steady $30 each month that takes a woman in a war torn country, educates her, gives her work experience and helps her support her own family. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that I am helping a woman, who would otherwise be helpless. My ‘sister’ this year is Violette in Rwanda. She is 25 and has a family. She wrote me a letter thanking me. I cried when I read it. She wished me and my family well and thanked me for all that I’ve done for her. I haven’t done anything except a direct deposit from my bank account to the program!  Last year my sister in Nigeria, Alice, wrote me a letter telling me about what she’s learned and the different crops she is planting for her family to make money. How her life is so much better now. I was so humbled by their words of thanks to me.

Each year they graduate the program and a different sister gets sponsored. In September I find out who my new sister is.  That will be my 4th. And I always look forward to see who it will be and what her story is.

It’s all about perspective isn’t it? Everyone has their struggles. Whether it’s the job you need to get up for in the morning to leave your family each day to provide for. Or the disabled child you need to help out of their wheel chair to get to the bathroom, or help feed. Or maybe you are struggling while unemployed and hoping there will be a nibble soon in the job offers. Or perhaps you’re going through a divorce.

I’ve said before that I have it good. I don’t think anyone has it easy no matter their privileges.

I’m not saying because you aren’t in a war ravaged country that you have it easy. I know we all have our hard days. We all have our struggles.

I just will try to remember that while I’m toolin’ around in my minivan, drinking my espresso and eating my chia seeds; wearing my cute Cole Hahn shoes I bought at Nordstrom Rack, that I have it pretty darn good.