Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Post-Christmas Recovery

I am so tired.  Really, really tired.  I don't know if it's just a month's worth of late nights, or the letdown after a month's worth of planning, or oncoming illness, or what...but I am exhausted.  It wasn't horrible going into work yesterday since it was only for one day (and then I'll do it again Wednesday), especially since the kids were driving us nuts over the weekend and a break from them was good for all of us.  But I woke up really tired.  I also woke up sore.  My back especially was sore.  I don't know if I slept funny or if this is an oncoming sickness sort of thing, but I really think I'm just super overtired from a solid month of everything--lack of sleep, too much food, constantly overthinking everything, constantly planning, and whatever else.  I'm just tired.  And normally I have a full week to be home and sort it all out.  But this year I have a couple days of work in between, so that big mental break isn't there.  I have yet to figure out how that might play out.  Ultimately I think I'll be fine, but it's annoying to have a couple days after Christmas to recover and still feel so tired yesterday morning.  Today I was off and it was honestly more of the same.  I'm not sleeping well, I can't get comfortable, and waking up is exhausting.  Today I had a headache, and the backache came back a bit later in the day.  After a lazy morning with Carter, at least I managed to clean up the Christmas gift bags and tissue paper, sort through my stash of boxes, and do a couple hours of my least favorite task, filing.

As for the kids, Christmas was generally good but as usual there were challenging moments.  At times both seemed ecstatic, but then later we'd ask them about their Christmas and get a disappointing response.  Carter was nervous about Santa leading up to it, which seemed to be what was keeping him down.  I got him to admit Santa was pretty cool after the fact, but then he seemed grumpy again for some reason.  I can't quite figure out why he doesn't seem excited, though he does seem to like his gifts.  Jacob always seems to be able to find one negative thing out of a thousand good ones, and he was like that almost all the time.  Even after getting his most wanted gift on Christmas Eve, then he was complaining because the next day is never quite as good (which isn't really true, as he always gets good stuff the second day, too), and he was bummed that the best part of Christmas was already over.  Then he was annoyed about getting an iTunes gift card, even though he always used to beg me for them.  Admittedly, he can do less with his iPad right now because it's older, but he's constantly listening to music and lately he's been doing it on YouTube.  As a result, he complains when he doesn't have WiFi, and I explained to him that he can download his favorites and not need WiFi for that.  The entitlement and glass-half-empty attitude makes me crazy.  He got so many things he wanted.  It's awful to hear and makes you wonder where you went wrong.

Even though the kids slept relatively well, there were late nights and missed naps and early mornings.  Add in being away from home and it's always a bit of a recipe for disaster.  When you factor in the anticipation and overstimulation, I feel like you just have to expect it for Christmas and make the best of it.  Quite honestly, I'm just relieved we made it through another Christmas without any major illnesses.  But it's not always easy to deal with the attitude and meltdowns on what is supposed to be the happiest day of the year.

I think the weather really did impact my Christmas spirit.  We had crazy warm weather leading up to Christmas.  I got to wear open-toed shoes the week before, and Craig was wearing shorts when we left on Christmas Eve!  It was in the 60s and definitely didn't feel like Christmas.  We didn't have any more than a few flurries (that didn't stick) during the entire Christmas season.  It was a bit of a bummer to not have pretty snowflakes in the air or snow on Christmas lights.  I will say, though, once it was a foregone conclusion that it wouldn't be a white Christmas, I decided I could get used to a warm, green Christmas!  It was nice not worrying about travel, or parking in snowbanks, or walking through ice to parties, or hauling gifts through the snow, or trying to pack the car with snow swirling through the trunk.  But I remember thinking as Christmas wound down that it didn't really feel like Christmas had even happened!  I feel like most years I have an instant sense of relief and excitement when we load in the car and head toward Buffalo.  This year I never really felt that.  I mean, I was relieved to be done, but I never got that specific feeling.  Even worse, usually there's a sense of magic and fun as we head into each of our Christmas stops, and this year it seemed to be missing.  I can't figure out why.  Too tired?  Too nervous about how the kids might behave?  No idea.  But it's a bummer.

Now Christmas is over and of course we got snow.  Last night it snowed an inch or so and was finished off with some freezing rain.  No ice accumulation that I can tell, fortunately.  But it's ironic nonetheless.  I'm sad to see everything start to de-Christmas.  Lights come down, decorations get packed away, stores lose their festive feel.  I hate January because it's such a sad contrast to December.  It's colder and less sparkly, with spring still too far away.  The only bright side is that Carter's birthday is coming, so at least I have that to think about.  I already have a couple presents bought, but I need to plan his party...and of course, his cake!  But this is definitely not my favorite time of the year, and I'll admit that I'm flashing back a bit to what happened in mid-January last year, when everything got turned upside down when I lost my job.  Even when I was filing earlier, I couldn't help but notice certain receipts and paperwork from that time off, and it took me back to that feeling of the unknown that took over last winter.  I know it all worked out just fine, but the upheaval wasn't easy and my memories of that time are very mixed.

I don't mean for this to be a bummer post, but I'm really not a fan of the post-Christmas blahs.  I wish I could make them a little less blah-like, but even that feels like a challenge this year with two kids who don't get along and limited time at home.  We're also facing treatments for Jacob's bone cyst, which is certainly a concern.  I'm thankful for a very nice Christmas, but I'm afraid festive isn't a word I'd use right now.  This year was a time of transition and full of challenges, and while I won't be particularly sad to see it go, this last year was a sobering reminder of just how unknown a new year can be. 

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