This year we didn’t even finish Thanksgiving before the Christmas decor was splashed on the walls, up the stairway and in the windows; but then again this is our first year with my father and his wife and my sisters. Many traditions from both sides now interweaving with one another, toes being stepped on and tensions running high.
Before arriving at work the other night I stopped by Target for some dresses for the girls… Matching but not matching at the same time for some holiday photos. It seems as if the time flies and I cannot capture their cuteness, their ever so changing facial features, attitudes and growth spurts. Plans made without a hint to anyone on what was happening I made a crazed mother choice… Once or twice this Thanksgiving. I chose to take family photos today, the once in a blue chance that Geraldo and I have the same day off and that perfect timing after a nap. Elleanna crashed with our early morning store run to Safeway for some necessary items to get through the night. Milk, ketchup and all that good stuff the kids will just “die” without.
My Guilt: I’m not great at knowing when to take photos, where the best spot is and to stay calm under the frustrations of headbands flying off, skirts up and silly faces. I want to be that family photo you see and think that we have it all together; no fighting or teasing about puffy hair (yes I forgot the hair spray when I was more worried about the children’s milk and snacks at the store!). I see so many family photos and I wonder why can’t I have that picture of perfection? We never take photos, nice family photos together though I know when we arrive home in Florida I will be calling on a cousin in-law for some photos for the four of us and the girls separate also. I have a jealousy honestly… I feel as if I’m that mom that doesn’t have it together that can’t give the girls every gift or even that mom with the second baby syndrome. Elleanna has yet to get a baby book or see a professional photographer while Isabella has a baby book filled, photos from four months to one and a half professionally done.
I’m that mother spending hours on Etsy, Pintrest and Google looking for new traditions to add to our old. Baking our Italian Christmas cookies and gingerbread house just doesn’t seem like the perfect mother. I’ve found new stockings with our initials and was grateful to see that Meme had taken the girls to the post office and received a book about letters to Santa which included paper, envelopes and stickers to mail Isabella’s very own FIRST letter to Santa.
How to fix this guilt: I need to remember not every family is the same, not every tradition is what we expect… To make my girls happy with photos whether they were organized and planned to the unplanned breathtaking moments. As I begin writings special notes to place in our Christmas cards I wonder how many of my friends and family will cherish these Christmas photos we spent time preparing the girls in the dresses and holding Elleanna’s hands away from her headband.
Truth is make it about the children, I’ve made an ornament with the girls sitting together in front of the Christmas tree (one of three or five if you count the two pink ones for my sisters and my daughters). Isabella woke up from a late night nap and wrote with mommy her very first letter to Santa asking for a Minnie journal for herself but she couldn’t forget her sissy with a Minnie book. The kindness and sweetness this little girl shows everyday makes me want to be a better mommy. When I hear “Mommy you best mommy ever!” I melt a bit more but also gain a bit more guilt.
So here’s this years traditions:
1st: Write a letter to santa
2nd: Family photos
3rd: Create a Christmas chain countdown
4th: Get and decorate a Christmas tree
5th: Decorate the small children’s tree
6th: Bake Italian Christmas cookies like my Aunt Sharon
7th: Send out Christmas cards to family and friends
8th: Make a gingerbread house
9th: Visiting Santa when he comes to town
10th: Check out the holiday lights around our neighborhood
11th: Record “Elf on the Shelf” and his many silly hiding places
12th: One holiday movie night a week (or more)
13th: Read holiday stories in front of the Christmas tree with Hot Coco
14th: Track Santa’s progress on NORAD
15th: Send surprises to relatives a far
16th: Matching PJ’s for all four girls and Christmas PJ’s for the adults
What are some of your holiday traditions for adults and children alike?
I’d love to add some on to our list.