Making Traditions, Breaking Traditions

Since my daughter is only twenty months old (today!  Happy birthday, V!!!), I figure I have some time to start making holiday traditions.  I sure hope so, because I don’t want watching the Rose Parade in my husband’s sweatpants while my daughter puts dinosaur stickers on my face to become our New Year’s morning tradition.  Being pregnant, I sure did miss my Rose Parade mimosa or coffee with Bailey’s (or, let’s be honest, usually both).  Odie was sweet enough to abstain as well on my behalf.  At least, I tell myself that’s why.  He’s so sick with this virus we can’t stop passing back and forth that he slept on the couch lest his constant coughing wake V.

So, traditions…  Everybody seems to have them.  I’m wary of those people whose holiday traditions are so elaborate and carefully constructed so as to show holiday perfection to the world.  Then again, I know some awesome, authentic people who always put fake holly on their mantles and hang lights from their houses.  I don’t think they’re trying to put up some fake front on the outside to the neighbors to hide deep dysfunction within.  But maybe they do such a great job, even I am fooled.  I remember holiday traditions from my childhood.  We shopped for a tree together.  We decorated it together.  I think that cookies were sometimes baked.  They never seemed to taste as good as they looked like they should.  We left cookies and milk out for Santa and some carrots for the reindeer.  Do reindeer even eat carrots?  I think we all assume they are like horses or donkeys.  As a child, I never lived in a house that had a chimney, so I fretted about Santa being able to deliver the presents.  When my dad explained that they hid a key for Santa so he could let himself in, I changed my worry scenario to someone else finding the key, breaking in and stealing my presents.  Oh, and of course murdering my whole family.  A childhood with generalized anxiety disorder was always a ferris wheel of fun.

We opened one present on Christmas Eve, and the rest on Christmas morning.  In the morning, we always started with stockings before presents.  Back then, I was so impatient for my parents to get their damned coffee so we could start, but now that I’m the sleep deprived mom, I totally get it.  Coffee is like life.  I still drink a cup from time to time, even though I’m pregnant.  I didn’t touch the stuff with my first pregnancy.  I can already see the ways I’m going to relax (a.k.a. lower my standards) with this second baby.

Once my parents divorced, the new traditions started.  We spent Christmas Eve with Dad and Christmas Day with Mom.  Now that we all have our own families and children, this is still sort of expected by my parents, but I find it harder every year to try to make everyone happy.  Everyone in my family and Odie’s family is divorced.  Instead of just parents and in-laws, I have Parents Part A, Parents Part B, and In-laws Part A and In-laws Part B.  Now, my parents are friendly and we can sometimes combine the Parents Parts A and B into one big celebration and check all of them off the list at once.  But Odie’s parents had a bitter, acrimonious divorce with court battles and such, and they have only seen each other once in the 30 years since they were last in court fighting over little Odie.  We aren’t going to have any pictures of family harmony around the egg nog bowl with them any time soon.  With only two weeks off for Christmas break, it would be very easy with all of these splintered factions of family to spend all of our vacation meeting obligations instead of having fun.  So we made some tough calls, told some people, “Not this year,” and since we’re family, there was much understanding and forgiveness and “We’ll see you next time.”

I’m just kidding.  There was absolutely no understanding.

I’m thankful that the holidays are over and that I still have a week off.  Make that a week off WITH DAY CARE.  Now THIS is a holiday tradition I can get used to.  Monday morning, Odie is going to drop V off at preschool, and I am going to STAY IN BED.  Then, he is going to come home and get back into bed with me, wake me up with his freezing cold feet, and we are going to be alone together.  We are going to go out to lunch and… I cannot believe I am even typing this, my hands are shaking… we are going to see a movie.  As in, go to a theater, buy popcorn, turn our phones off (okay, to vibrate), and watch a recently released film on a big screen.  If you don’t have kids, this seems like no big deal, but if you do, then you feel me, dog.  You feel me.

After that, we are going to do whatever we feel like doing for the five days we have off together.  We’ll pick V up at 3:00 and have our usual afternoon and evening with her, of course, but Odie and I are looking forward with devilish glee to COUPLE TIME.  And not couples THERAPY time, the latter being no fun whatsoever.

I often look back on my last pregnancy and marvel at how easy I had it.  Or even better, BEFORE I was even pregnant, how easy I had it!  I remind myself of that frequently because next Christmas, I’ll have two kids, and more than likely I will look back on today and think, “Bitch, you didn’t know how easy you had it!”  But on some level, I DO know.  And I am going to go sit in a bubble bath for a while (not too hot, of course) and make a memory that I can look back on in a year, when I turn to Odie and say, “I can’t believe that last New Year’s Day I had time to sit in a bubble bath.”

Happy New Year, everyone!


About Mrs Odie

Friendly Pedant; Humble Genius
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8 Responses to Making Traditions, Breaking Traditions

  1. Rosie says:

    Sounds like you have a great plan for this upcoming week – but shouldn’t you be starting on the favors for your delivery? And what about pouty-faced self-portraits of you in the bathroom mirror? The one decorated like a whorehouse?
    Not to be off-topic, but I had to write a comment to She Whose Name Must Not Be Uttered the other day. Hell, the woman is going to be 32 years old and she writes like a kid who’s texting. I suggested she write with a little dignity and not like her audience is exclusively 16 year-old teen moms, which I’m sure comprise most of her readership anyway.(“Your gr8t, bitch.”) Then there was the unfortunate bread-rising photo and the accompanying self-deprecation: “Oh, look how adorable I am! I’m such an adorable, kookie little thing, aren’t I? But enough about me – what do YOU think is the most adorable thing about me?” And we’re expected to ooh and ahh over one of “her” “recipes” – which consists of a millon jars of something dumped into a crock pot?
    Her latest photos look like she’s wearing a croaker (sp?) sack. And what the hell are those stupid ropes everywhere? Oh – to be kree8ive. It fills me with onwee that I’m not……..

  2. Judy says:

    IMO Hampton has some serious issues she should explore in therapy. Anyone who continually posts the crap that she writes and those odd pictures (WTF is with the ropes in the trees??) needs help. Her family sounds like a mess and she so desperately tries to cover that up.

  3. Belinda says:

    Ooooh the cinema – I hope you enjoy! What are you and Mr Odie going to see? Can you do me a favour, if you see anyone updating their Facebook profile during the movie, please punch them in the back of the head. I saw a guy do that recently, the glare of light from his iPhone was enough to make me comment VERY loudly.

    I was lamenting to my SIL’s hubby on Boxing Day how I have the post-Christmas blues. Until I was in my late teens, the tradition every year was for my cousin & I to distribute the presents to our aunts, uncles, grandparents & siblings. It was so exciting to hand the gifts out and then have riotous fun unwrapping them all – the room looked like a bomb had hit it!

    These days, I just spend Christmas Day alone with my husband (and my parents, but now that I am in the UK and they are in Australia, I don’t see them) and then we spend Boxing Day with my SIL, her husband and their 9yr old son.

    This year I’d love to start a new (but old!) tradition – 12 Days of Christmas. One gift to open every day for 12 days. I’ve begun my wish list already! But the greatest gift of all for me would be a BFP….

  4. SlippidyDippidy says:

    Your family sounds like mine (the divorced parents, and too many groups of people to see between our two families). We are FINALLY getting to the point now being the parents of two kids where we don’t go see everyone for the holidays, and they can kiss our asses if they don’t like it. Well no we don’t really feel that harshly about it, or at least we don’t let them know- but we certainly do not enjoy the guilt trips and the “Well that is what I did when I had you kids” crap. So we are trying to just get better about not letting it get to us.
    And you are absolutely right about the thinking back on how easy things were! Sometimes I say to my husband, “What the HELL did we do for all those years before we had kids!?” I mean, just hours and hours to squander on whatever! Can you even imagine?!

  5. JoyM says:

    We are with SlippidyDippidy and just spend it at home and have a really lovely time on our own and everyone else can deal.

    I have divorced parents plus once side with another divorce thrown in between an Aunt and Uncle who split the family again, not to mention a whole set of family in another city which used to try and accommodate. Boarding the dogs, flying during the mad rush of the holidays, losing the luggage, you know what-it’s not worth it. Now we visit on our own time and it’s not the end of the world either.

    Of course my Dad still guilts me about not coming to visit, but then his wife rattles on and on about what a horrible time Christmas was with her family and how awful everyone was with each other and I think, “Dad, are you hearing this? Not exactly an advertisement to join next year”.

    Oh, and this holiday break we actually, I can’t even believe it, HIRED A BABYSITTER and took off to see a movie! OMG, it was amazing! We used to go practically every weekend before having a child and now it is such a treat. I honestly don’t even care what we go see anymore-just get me in that seat and I’m golden.

    I’m so glad you were able to get out and do that, too. Yeah for the holidays!

  6. Kit says:

    Rosie you make me laugh! I was going WTF about that rope thing too.

  7. MrsL says:

    I laughed so hard at this post! While we only had one day off/daycare open overlap day, we did the exact same thing as you! Cackled with glee at dropping the baby off and having a day to ourselves! Husby took the babe to daycare and I just stayed in bed. Alone. In glorious glorious SILENCE. It was heaven. I didn’t even need to fall back asleep. The SILENCE was enough. And then I SHOPPED. And then we saw a MOVIE. It was glorious. Enjoying the small things indeed.

    Which … what kind of ego/narcissistic streak/self love (I don’t even know what to call it, I’m so appalled) do you have to have to earnestly dress yourself and your children in costumes, fix everyone’s hair, HIRE a photographer and go into the woods and take fantasy fairy mother pictures? Dear god woman, you are thirty. There is something so off-putting and creepy about the sincerity in which she lives in her fantasyland … it gives me the heebie jeebies! (looks like the oldest daughter is a little creeped out as well). And seriously sister? The “biological rhythms” you feel with each new season? I’m pretty sure that’s just the changing candy and decor aisles at your local Target.

  8. Ollybeau says:

    THANK YOU! Exactly what I was thinking about those fairy pictures. I mean, I get the importance of family portraits, we’ve done them ourselves. But all this woman does every day is take pictures of herself and her children. Wouldn’t it get old after a while? 🙂
    And those “biological rhythms?” Um, yeah, everyone has them. Not exactly a quirky personality trait.
    I really, really want to like her. Think it’s good to have positive attitude and everything, but sheesh…
    Mrs. Odie, thanks for the laughs. Sorry for the small rant!

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