We have entered the time of year I call The Gauntlet because I feel like I am running through one. Historically, this refers to two rows of men with sticks and other weapons that who beat the person who runs in between rows. In my house, it refers to early October to late February. During that time, we celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, both Blurs’ birthdays, the Super Bowl (yes, it is as important as these other holidays), Valentine’s Day, and my birthday. It seems most of the kids in Blur1’s kindergarten class were born in the fall. We have soccer for both Blurs in a fall and basketball for Blur1 in the winter. In addition, holiday schedules for me and the busy season for Hubby where he works many Saturdays. Between now and December 1st, with normal activities of school, work, and religious school, we have something every day except the seven days I took off for Thanksgiving to travel to my parents’ house; everyone knows this kind of vacation is no vacation.
By the time, we hit February, I am sick of cake, having made and eaten several because the Blurs’ birthdays are 10 days apart and want cake on their actual birthday as well as at school celebration and at their party. For Valentine’s Day, I ask for flowers only as we still likely have Christmas candy (and to be honest, Halloween candy too, if I didn’t go on a rampage one day and throw it all away) still around. For my birthday, I ask for dinner at my favorite local restaurant and I make my own cake (not sad, as I love to bake and am ready for cake again after 3 weeks of no cake) which we eat with the Blurs before going to dinner without them.
I cope mostly by overplanning. I have a Word Document that keeps me organized - presents bought, menus from prior years, locations for birthday parties, etc. I make great use of my freezer and pantry and have already started buying for special dinners and foods. My Halloween costumes (this past weekend), candy (the minute it was put out) and plans (annual party) are all set. I start looking for Hanukkah-Christmas presents in July, start buying August and currently, I’m mostly done with that shopping for the Blur1 (Blur2 being the 2nd kid is always harder to shop for). I know what I’m doing for Thanksgiving (traveling or not) in July and if I’m not traveling, my Thanksgiving dinner is bought the week they put those turkeys out in the grocery store. I have a gathering on trick-or-treat (kid friendly dinner with a couple families at my house and then the kids trick-or-treat in my awesome neighborhood) so that I can decline all other Halloween parties. I buy birthday presents at Christmas sales, usually the week after Christmas but sometimes before. The birthday parties are booked around Thanksgiving but actually take place late January. If we do something for New Year’s Eve (rare because I usually work), it has to be low-key and kid-friendly and in years past has involved the same families as the Halloween trick-or-treat party.
I am somewhat envious of those of you who can just go with the flow and buy Christmas presents on Christmas Eve and “let traditions happen”. I get anxious. I had all these wonderful traditions and my mother made it look so easy. Like my father, it never crosses Hubby’s mind what presents the Blurs should get or what to serve for Hanukkah dinner or even to buy groceries for said dinner. Hubby, for his part, does a lot of the day-to-day home stuff - laundry, dishes, bathtime, bedtime - so it’s not like he doing nothing. The Blurs do get time with us, which I know you’re thinking they want more than a fancy dinner, but they do have to eat.
So if you see me in the store this week, buying Hanukkah supplies (or lamenting my uber-Christian area has Christmas stuff out but not Hanukkah stuff), buy me a Starbucks, because you know I need one.