This is a weird Christmas. It's weird for a lot of reasons, and maybe some that I can't even really explain, but mostly it's weird because it's like three days away and I am not entirely sure what I am doing.
The kids have this Christmas with their dad. It's his turn, and although I am relinquishing them to him, I am doing it grudgingly. Even though on my Christmases with them I whisk them away to the coast and their dad doesn't get to see them at all, I still kind of expect to have them for at least PART of the holiday when they are rightfully his. Because, after all, I am the MOM. But this year, with raised eyebrows and pointed statements, he did insist on his right to keep them the whole time. So I am relatively kidless, which is strange. Christmas without kids is something that I have never experienced. Ever. When I got married, my baby sister was 5, so there have ALWAYS been kids. And now my sister has kids that I can borrow, or show up and crash their Christmas, which I am sure I will do, but as much as I complain about my kids, Christmas without them just plain blows. In fact, most things without them pretty much suck.
Sometimes I am so busy just surviving life with four+ kids that I forget that it is LIFE. And without them it is not. Not that the quiet times when they go away for a few hours isn't a divine intervention into my unraveling sanity, but when they're really gone, it's just... weird.
I realize - no, wait. I have had it pointed out to me, by one of my very astute and possibly bitter children, that I complain about them a lot. "write horrible things about us" was the exact phrase she used. And it made me sad, because really, I never meant to. The "horrible" things are also quite often the funny things to me, and the best way to keep it from being a festering wound that ends unattractively for all of us, I tend to vent in my blog. But I have to remember to vent about the good things. Like Aspen spontaneously scrubbing out the dog water dish when she discovered green algae floating in it. Or Natalee decorating the dogs for the holidays. Or Halle driving to pick up Natalee's friend in what is quite possibly the first errand that one of my children has run for me. HALLELUJAH! Here are the perks of semi-grown children! Driver's licenses! Other good things are when MacKenzie overcomes her will of iron and her pride (both gifts that I bequeathed to her) and tells me she's sorry. And then works on things. And when When quits blaming Aspen for messing things up and voluntarily cleans up Dagny's most recent "accident". These are the good things. Singing the wrong lyrics to pop songs together and playing out soap opera scenarios with the vintage Christmas Candle Angels. Drinking cream soda out of my wine glasses and actually being into old musicals and black and white movies. All these things are good. They are wins. They mean that not only are my children alive so far, they are even COOL. My kids know who Bono is and can categorize Frank Sinatra's musical catalog according to his singing age. They will gladly watch football, hockey, Jimmy Stewart and Peter Paul and Mary. They are quick witted and hilarious. They are independent and curious. They are brave and intelligent. All of them. Even When and my other daughter Amanda. Almost all of them will eat almost anything with minimal complaining, and will try new things. They do their own laundry, and 75% of them even put it away, which is more than I can say.
But back to Christmas. And how weird it is. Because Christmas is Family. And Family is Kids. And Kids are gone. So it's weird. And my sister and her family have Christmas stuff with their other side, and I will probably end up with my adopted kids at the Middlesworths, and it will probably be fine. And fun. But still, weird.