Friday, December 20, 2013

On the First Day of Christmas Vacation...

'Tis the Season to Be Grinchy
♪ ♫ ♪ On the first day of Christmas vacation, my family gave to me--♫ ♫ ♪
  ♪ 1 four-year-old who never stops talking or screaming
  ♫ 1 six-year-old who down't know how to speak without shouting
   ♪ 1 nine-year-old who can't understand that "no bouncing the soccer ball in the house" means NO BOUNCING THE SOCCER BALL IN THE HOUSE
   ♫ 1 eleven-year-old who has taken the art of arguing to a whole new level.

My youngest daughter put up our Christmas tree a little over a week ago.  She took it down last night.  That four-year-old thinks the decorations are toys to stick in the sofa, under the TV, or even out the front door.  The boys (6 & 9) think the trashcan is a basketball goal.  Correction: A soccer-ball goal, because they destroyed the basketball long ago.  I'm waiting for the sound of breaking glass.  I've already mopped up the overflow in the bathroom.  And the day isn't over yet, but at least it's half over.

I was born without an abundance of patience.  Or maybe I was, but it's all been used over the past 8+ years, since I offered my daughter of two children, at the time, childcare.  Then came another and another.  I raised four of my own, so I understand how caring for children can run the gamut from terrifying to terrific.  I didn't expect an apocalypse of disasters.  We had our own, many that could have been avoided, but yielded a lesson.  My two oldest daughters learned, after playing with and breaking something that didn't belong to them "for the last time," that mom had a breaking point.  Years later, one Pound Puppy is still missing an ear, and a Cabbage Patch doll an arm.  I can take a lot of abuse, but there's a limit.  They reached it that day, and it's something they've never forgotten.  What we have forgotten is what it was they broke to cause me to lose my cool.

Let's face it, mothers are human.  So are kids.  We all make mistakes, we all lose our temper, although as infrequently as possible.  I'm trying to hold on to mine today.  That, and my mind.

But tomorrow is Saturday, and the little darlings will be gone for the weekend in only a few hours.  I get a reprieve...until Monday, when we'll start all over again.  This year school is out for the holidays for seventeen days.  Yes, that's right, 17.  When I was in school--during the Dark Ages--we were lucky to get ten, and that happened when Christmas fell on Wednesday, as it does this year.

Wait!  There's no sound of a bouncing soccer ball, only the sounds of Family Guy, coming from the living room.  Oh, and a shout from the 6-year-old, but that's not uncommon.  They must be gathering strength for the next wave.  I, on the other hand, am dreaming of tomorrow, when I'll be attending the first college basketball game I've been to in thirty years.  Floor seats.  Under the basket.  On ESPN2.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!   I'll get to be the one screaming and shouting, jumping up and down, and maybe catching a basketball, although it might very well be in the face.

Such is life.  It's never a smooth road, but at least it's paved with good intentions and sprinkled with wonder.

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