Goodbye, Christmas

Kevin is back at work after the holidays, the boys are back at school, and I miss my family.

Back when I was a teacher, I always had the hardest time going back to school after Christmas break.  I knew that once the kids walked into the classroom my post-holiday blues would fade and I’d move on, but that was the problem—I didn’t want to move on.  I didn’t want the previous days of my family all packed into one room, laughing and teasing each other, to fade into memories.  But they had to and they did the minute my students came in the classroom and we all looked to each other for help in moving on from something most of us didn’t want to move on from.

As a stay-at-home mom I haven’t gotten that feeling after the holiday break.  Until now.  I don’t know what’s different this year; maybe it’s because Kevin actually took two weeks off of work, which he’s never done before.  Maybe it’s because the boys are old enough to do the things I remember doing over my winter breaks—OD’ing on board games, playing basketball with the neighbors, watching movies together, spending afternoons sprawled around the house reading books.  Maybe it’s because of all the afternoons we spent trying out new recipes together, making chocolate chip brioche pretzels and Korean pancakes and popcorn cookies.  Maybe it’s because I know that this feeling of “it’s all over” is just a tiny piece of what I’ll feel next year, when Leo goes to kindergarten and my days of parenting little ones are over.  Maybe it’s because I am borderline manic-depressive and December is always one huge, manic month of bliss for me, which means that  January is always pay-back time.

I am sitting here in a sparkling clean house, staring out at a blue sky and snow-covered mountains above beautiful Lake Washington.  I have a cup of my favorite coffee in front of me.  The kitchen is putting out smells of roasted squash and toasted pumpkin seeds.  I am doing one of the things I love to do most (blogging, if it’s not obvious), and I can’t wait for everything else that’ I’m going to do today and this week.  This month.  This year!  And yet, I feel like I am mourning the death of another holiday  season.  I hum a few lines of “White Christmas” and Christmas 2016 flutters its eyelids a bit, but that’s all I get out of it.  It’s time to put on some other music, I guess.

Right now I feel both blissed out from all the holiday joy and at the same time bummed out that we can’t live in that world of carols and nogs forever.  I’m sitting on the middle of a teeter totter, trying to inch my way toward the side that’s up instead of slipping to the bottom as I usually do in January.

I’m hopeful, as I am every year, that this time I won’t have to pay for all the happiness I spent in December.  Maybe this January will be different.

I reach out my hand tentatively toward 2017 and hope that it is taken gently.

Spaghetti squash tacos
Steamed broccoli
Triple chocolate peppermint trifle

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