I won’t ask if you are all ready for Christmas, because I know you already are! a friend (HI GLENN) said to me last week, and it’s true, my gifts were all purchased over a month ago, cards have been sent out weeks ago, everything is wrapped, and yet. This last week, these last few days before a break, may just be my undoing. We are all so exhausted and completely burnt out that it is taking every ounce of energy to rouse myself and the kids out of bed in the morning and just get through the day. We are all counting down the days until vacation, even though it specifically goes against my Enjoy The Moment mantra. If we are always looking ahead to the next thing, we can forget about what’s happening right now. Or, as Ferris Bueller said, Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.
Deep thoughts from teen movies of the Eighties.
What is it about this week? This morning I felt like my sanity was holding on by a thread, and not a sturdy thread either, but one that is completely frayed and shoddy. Yesterday my younger son said that he thought there was no school on Friday. Weeks ago I had checked the school website; since Thursday is “activity day” I thought that might be the case. But on the website, Friday was listed as Last Day of Classes. So, by that logic, I concluded that Friday was indeed the Last Day of Classes and there would be school.
Strangely, the kids kept telling me that over the morning announcements, there were x-1 days of school left, when I felt there should be x days left, based on Friday being the Last Day of Classes. After my son’s claim yesterday though, I looked again at the website. Friday: Last Day of Classes. But oh! When I started to scroll down to confirm the date of my older son’s Environmental and Outdoor Education trip to the mountains, I noticed something. Underneath Friday: Last Day of Classes was Friday: PD Day NO CLASSES.
It seems to me like there could have been a much better way of communicating that information. I looked through all the paper forms in my possession and not one mentioned this fairly salient fact. To be sure, it is not a big deal; if anything, it’s an unexpected bonus since that will allow me to have a much more relaxed morning, but yet it was unsettling.
More unsettling was the realization that the Grade Eight Ski Trip – for which no forms or information has been distributed to parents as of yet – was on the exact same day that my eighth grader was due to go in to get molds made for his upcoming orthodontic work. Under normal circumstances, this would be No Big Deal. I would Figure Things Out. But with everything else going on right now, and a January packed full of one-off appointments, and the fact that I had already rescheduled this particular appointment twice, and this appointment needed to occur 7-10 days before the actual braces are put on actual teeth, and finding an appointment time that both works for my crazy schedule and minimizes the missing of Important, Difficult To Make Up classes is incredibly trying, well, this was the thing that took the thread from Sturdy to Completely Frayed.
I’ll just call before I head into the studio, I thought, with deep ujjayi breaths. I had a few minutes between the time the office opened – 8:00 – and the time I had to leave. No problem! Except that I kept getting the If you are calling to reschedule or book an appointment, please contact us during our regular office hours message. But I AM calling you during regular office hours!This IS your regular office hours, why is no one answering the PHONE?
Well. I got it done, not without the requisite mental anguish. The finish line is indeed in sight. Soon, I will be able to pour giant glugs of Almond Baileys into my coffee and drink it in my pajamas, with nowhere to go and no place to be. Soon.
I don’t want to complain, I really don’t. I do love this time of year; I love the parties and gatherings and getting cards in the mailbox. Speaking of which, last year someone sullenly tweeted that they had received only one Christmas card, and it was a standard-issue from a local business. It turned out that she had sent ZERO cards but was expecting many. Well. That might not be how it works. Perhaps expectations need to be adjusted. And perhaps I need to adjust my own expectations about my own limits and go to bed every night this week at 8:00. That sounds like a very good plan.
Speaking of expectations, I had very low ones yesterday when I drove into the Costco parking lot. Costco, one week before Christmas. I was, to be honest, expecting a complete nightmare and I spent a few minutes in my car just deep breathing. I had just taught a yoga class and I discussed the stressful time of year with my students, using words like “self-care” and “meditative breathing” and I felt like the teacher could be the student, so to speak. The parking lot was strewn with carts, which, as we all know, causes me much grief, and the man in the car across from mine literally shoved his cart into the VERY SAME SNOWBANK from which I had retrieved a cart only two weeks prior, and drove off. DEEP BREATHING, SERENITY NOW.
So I was expecting the literal worst as I went into the store, wondering, not for the first time, if the items on my list really were worth the angst involved. And then…nothing. The produce section was a bit crazy, due to very poor aisle engineering, but the shopping trip was really…fine. All my items were available, some were discounted, all the produce looked great, and then when I went to check out there was NO LINE. I wheeled my giant heavy cart up to the till and immediately unloaded. WHEN HAS THAT EVER HAPPENED, I ASK? Certainly it was not what I was expecting the week before Christmas. Maybe it was all that cart karma during the year. It all paid off.
And speaking of karma, my lovely friend and yoga student Sara (HI SARA) brought me these cookies, along with – get this – chocolate pretzel bark and honestly, this kind and beautiful gesture absolutely turned my whole day around. I went from Being Ready To Cry to having my sanity reinstated. It is no longer hanging by a thread. It is now securely double-stitched together. Never underestimate what kindness will do for someone, especially this time of year. xo