I haven’t posted in a couple of days.. things have been crazy around here and as we enter the holidays, it’s only going to get worse.
I’m sitting here, Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow and I feel the anxiety, panic-driven stress and the “I’m fixing to go into an all-night cleaning and cooking” fit welling up inside of me. I do this every year but as of this very moment I’m going to tell myself “STOP, BREATHE, RELAX and ENJOY.”
So what if my Thanksgiving table doesn’t look like something straight out of the pages of Southern Living. So what if underneath that table is a floor that is not perfectly clean. And so what if we eat our dinner at 3:04, rather than straight up 3. It will be OKAY. Or so I’m told.
So what if my holiday home is not Martha Stewart, HGTV and Southern Living all wrapped up in a Norman Rockwell painting. So what, it will be okay.
It’s funny, Thanksgiving and Christmas are my favorite times of the year, but I rarely actually enjoy them. It’s quite sad. Starting about mid-October I turn into a different woman (yes, even more stressed that my normal self!!) — a woman I’m sure my friends and family just adore being around. When the long summer days start fading into Fall, or what little Fall we actually get in Texas, I go into overdrive. I start planning, setting schedules and scouring the pages of numerous magazines and websites, and I live for Food Network and HGTV holiday specials. I’m always on the hunt for what will make our holidays “perfect.” But what is perfect? At the end of the season, I’m ashamed to say, I never see our holiday festivities as perfect. I’ve stressed myself out so much that I just don’t enjoy them.
I’m not sure what is it inside of me that makes me this way. Yes, a great deal of it is circumstantial. For reasons I won’t go into here, the holidays are just hard for me. I guess the rest of it is that Martha Stewart wanna-be side of me. I don’t know where I get that. And for those who know me, I’m no Martha Stewart.
We’ll make it through our Thanksgiving meal with few mishaps, but I barely get the dishes cleared before I go into Christmas mode and start dragging out the more than 30, yes I said 30, boxes of Christmas decorations.
Again, this year I say SO WHAT. So what if I don’t get all four (I’m a glutton for punishment) trees up and perfectly decorated by the end of Thanksgiving weekend. So what if my son breaks an ornament. So what if one of the 632,000 lights my hubby carefully hangs outside goes out — okay, that might be a slight exaggeration, but we are approaching Griswald status and we won’t notice if a few bulbs burn out. SO WHAT! STOP, BREATH, RELAX and ENJOY. I’m silently chanting that to myself as I feel the urge to go downstairs and bake some cornbread for Thursday’s dressing — wouldn’t want to be late or anything. Okay, my heart is beating faster, sweat is glistening on my brow and I’m getting restless. Shelly, I say, “the cornbread can wait.” I still have 27 hours until Thanksgiving dinner.
I spend so much time on all the details, on stressing on inconsequential things and being unhappy over things in life that I just can’t control, that I forget what’s important. In the end, instead of being thankful for a great holiday, I wind up sad and feeling like a failure for not reaching my unrealistic expectations of what it should be like. When I do step back and look, the negatives are nothing, and the positives by far outnumber them.
What’s important is the “I’m filled to the brim” look of happiness on hubby’s face as he sits on the couch watching Thanksgiving day football. What’s important is watching my little one as we hang “his” Santa Claus ornaments on his very own tree. What’s important is staying up late on a work night to watch a movie with my daughter, not organize the wrapping paper in the closet to wrap those yet, unpurchased gifts.
So this year, I’m setting my New Year’s resolution early, I’m going to “STOP, BREATHE, RELAX and ENJOY.”