Greeting cards have all been sent.
The Christmas rush is through.
But I still have one wish to make…
A special one for you.
Who am I kidding? This is my first holiday season with a busy toddler. Time and energy can’t be wasted on wishes.
She needs to do 365 different activities per day and sadly, not a single one of them involves sitting still for a Christmas card photo. Since bribery doesn’t quite work at this age, I resort to distraction; recently, an episode of Curious George helped me capture a moment that makes her look like a real life doll instead of like a toddler trying to see every second of her favorite show.
Even so, my daughter loves everything Christmas. She managed to learn that Santa says “Ho ho ho” faster than she learned any of the animal sounds. She sings “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to the sparkly one perched on top of our artificial tree, and she is certain the tree is sleeping when its lights are turned off. “Night-night,” she whispers.
But my favorite toddler-ism is the way she declares “Merry MESS-mas” to the world whenever she sees anything having to do with the holiday. If she spots a Santa hat while we’re cruising down the aisles of Target: Merry MESS-mas! Or she notices snow flurries through the window: Merry MESS-mas! Or hears bells of any kind on a TV commercial: Merry MESS-mess!
It’s cute because she can’t pronounce “Christmas,” and it’s amusing because it’s 100% true. Toddlers really put the mess in MESS-mas.
I feel like I’ve been stuck under a pile of shimmering clutter, clutching my “To Do List” since putting away the Thanksgiving leftovers. I can’t seem to get anything accomplished. As soon as I finish one thing, another three pop up on my radar. I still have all of my normal parent responsibilities, plus all of the regular Christmas stressors, and now the newly self-imposed task of filling this month with magical memories.
I’m not even talking Pinterest quality–just simple things like dancing to Christmas music in the living room or coloring pictures of festive holiday scenes. Everything ends in a giant mess, including a tearful toddler who is over-tired, overwhelmed, and generally just over it. It’s a Christmas miracle that I haven’t lost my mind.
When I’m not policing the ornaments on the bottom third of our Christmas tree from my tiny thief, I’m trying to make chocolate crinkle cookies and squeeze in a call to our insurance company to contest a bill from the dentist. My life is starting to sound like a spin-off from the popular Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer special, Abominable Snowman not included.
But, when it’s all packed up and the glitter has settled, I will be left with the wonder of seeing Christmas through my daughter’s smiling eyes. That’s the magic.
So I suppose I don’t need to make that wish after all.
Merry MESS-mas darling.