“Maybe he’ll catch on this time,” I thought to myself as I begrudgingly pulled out Mortimer, our Elf on the Shelf. Then I instantly felt guilty, and – if I’m being honest, a little ashamed. It wasn’t that I was being a bah humbug Grinch, but I thought for sure that this would be the year our 9 year old would start asking questions, and quite possibly, the year he stopped believing.
But it was at this moment of selfish abandonment that it hit me: our son needs Santa (and Mortimer) now more than ever. And it’s up to me to make sure the magic of the holidays still exist this year. After the year we’ve all had, we need to believe in Santa in 2020. Even a burnt out 35 year old midwestern mom.
Okay so time out. Maybe keeping the spirit of Christmas alive is a little too much pressure to be putting on myself this year. I mean, I can’t even seem to manage to get the laundry folded once it makes it out of the dryer week after week. And now I’m single handedly supposed to “save” Christmas? No. This isn’t a Hallmark movie. This is real life, and I’m tired. Like, really tired.
But when you have to look your child in the eyes and see him hurting over the fact that he can’t go to school every day, or when you have to explain why sleepovers are currently on hold and so are after school playdates, you begin to look for reasons to try and compensate. So if putting on the big red suit this year is my job, I’ll do it. Figuratively. Or maybe literally. I’m all about oversized comfy clothes.
I don’t have some big grand master plan. Instead, I’ve been looking for ways each day to try and make the holidays special. I bought special Christmas-themed cookies and set them out with Mortimer, straight from the North Pole (AKA Target). I bought the family “matching” Christmas PJs (thanks, Old Navy) and also had our elf deliver.
I’ve been sneaking candy in with Coop’s lunch with little notes from our elf.
I’ve been making hot cocoa, and we’ve gone out looking for Christmas lights. Holiday movies are playing on a loop, and we’ve decorated cookies. I even did something unthinkable: I let Coop help me wrap presents this year, AND I was super patient as he continued to struggle with getting the tape cut from the dispenser. Every single time we needed a piece of tape. Every time.
We’ve blasted holiday music and sung our little hearts out. We’ve hung the stockings and we’ve mailed Christmas cards for the first time in over 6 years.
So even though this year stinks, I am still trying to find the good in all that we do. Even if it means smiling to cover up my RGF (resting Grinch face), I’ll do it. Because you’re only little once. And I don’t want him to look back on this year and have it be the reason he’s in therapy for the rest of his life. I mean, we’ve given him a bajillion other reasons for that. Instead, I want him to look back and remember all the fun he had, despite the craziness of the year.
So, for the next three nights, I will continue to put on my creative Santa hat, hide the damn elf, and pretend to be astonished and excited to see what Mortimer’s been up to each morning as I stumble down the stairs in my flannel PJs to make my extra strong coffee.
‘Tis the season.
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