For some reason, I still get excited about upcoming holidays, even though they pretty much always suck, at least a good portion of them. I anticipate what the day is going to look like even though IT HAS NEVER ONCE ACTUALLY LOOKED LIKE THAT.
There is a big, scary disconnect between what I imagine and what actually happens. Always is.
And yet, it surprises me every time.
Take Easter for example. Here’s how it went in my head:
I wake to the sweet sound of the kids in my bed, “Mama! Daddy! It’s Easter!” I feel energized and blessed.
We all hop out of bed (haha, “hop”, get it? like the Easter bunny?) and run into the kitchen, where we see three beautiful baskets of small, fair trade wooden toys I bought the week before, along with some raw organic chocolate.
I take pictures as my kids open their baskets, basking in the joy that is family life.
We eat a nutritious breakfast as a family.
We dye eggs together, laughing and playing.
Everybody takes a bath and gets dressed in their Easter outfits, anticipating the arrival of relatives and the trip to Grandma’s house.
My family arrives and we all stare at the beautiful dressed-up kids, taking pictures happily in the front yard and smiling.
We do a little egg hunt in the yard, the kids skipping around with their baskets in the sun. I take pictures.
Finally, we all pile in the car with grins and giggles to cruise over to Grandma’s house, where we will eat lamb and ham and 75 desserts.
The ONLY PART of that that actually happened was the last part of the last sentence.
Check it out. Here’s how it happened in reality:
I wake to sound of Georgia yelling “mama,” glance at the time and say “holy mother of god.” I bang on Mac and demand he get up, realizing almost immediately, of course, that that ain’t gonna work, cause all three of them are up. I feel like I’d rather saw off my left arm than get out of bed. I remember: “Fuck, it’s Easter,” which means I must behave, so I pretend I’m happy and I get up.
I roll out of bed in a confused haze and stumble into the kitchen, where we see three beautiful baskets of fifty-five different types of candy from Target and a few crap toys made in China. I didn’t have time to order the little wooden wonders I had in mind, nor did I have time to get the raw organic chocolate from the co-op, so I filled the baskets with stuff from Target, at 1am Easter morning.
I try to find my camera but can’t, so I just watch them carefully opening their baskets but mostly focus on making coffee.
They eat Fun-dip for breakfast. We eat eggs and toast. Georgia starts assaulting everybody’s baskets, diving for choke-able chocolate items and making the other kids squeal.
I find my camera and begin the photographic mission from hell, which will continue all morning. “Kids. Sit together. Let’s take a picture with your baskets.” They ignore me. I get louder. “KIDS, NOW!” They all sit together but one of them is looking away at any given moment.
Suddenly in a moment of terror I realize my family is coming over in approximately 4 hours and it looks like our house has been hit by an Easter-vomiting tornado. The panic begins. I demand immediate action. We spend the next 2 hours attempting to fix about six months of inattention to the details of our home, such as, the tops of bookshelves and corners.
By this point I’m beginning to hate my life. I’m racing around like a fucking banshee in attempt to bring my house even NEAR the point of acceptable, and while I’m doing so, my kids are taking turns rolling on the ground singing the Good-Luck-Charlie theme song and/or avoiding me. By the time I’m done with my cleaning rampage everybody wants to off themselves.
MUST DYE EGGS.
We go outside and dye eggs for about 10 minutes, since we’re now running late. Rocket spends most of the time throwing the eggs at the back fence. Ava spends her time screaming at Rocket to stop throwing eggs at the back fence.
I look at the clock and see we have ONE FUCKING HOUR before my family arrives.
I gather them up, we race into the bathtub, I start ironing. I’m barking orders and things are getting tight. Nobody wants to bathe. I threaten great bodily harm if they don’t just do it NOW. All parenting skill has left the building. I am now in psycho get-the-kids-dressed-up-for-a-big-family-event mode.
Rocket doesn’t want a belt. Ava’s shoes don’t match. Georgia hates getting dressed. Finally I get them in their outfits. I feel like a ran a 5K. (I have no idea what a 5K is, FYI.)
My family shows up. I need a few pictures of the kids before they ruin their outfits. I get them all outside by the bush. Rocket is scowling. Georgia is screaming. After every shot, Rocket bolts off and I look at Mac, mouthing the words “I’m gonna fucking kill ‘em.” Ava is the only one who participates. I love Ava.
We hide eggs. The kids find eggs. I can’t get any pictures because they’re running around like bats outta hell. I’m trying to keep Georgia away from the candy filled ones on account of the dress she’s wearing. I succeed, but only because I’m chasing her around like an eagle and prey – and it’s not fun.
Running late, feeling like I’ve already lived an entire day, we pile in the car to go to Grandma’s house, but not before we run around trying to locate everybody’s play clothes for later, last-minute must-have items (purses and hats and diapers and Matchbox cars). Finally, we all pile in the car with stress and bad attitudes and cruise over to Grandma’s house,
where we eat lamb and ham and 75 desserts.
You see how I bolded that last line?
That’s because I focus on the positive.
That’s me, always lookin’ at the bright side.
Here’s the rest of the bright side…and what will keep me going, looking forward to next Easter like a delusional idiot…
Until next year, people.