Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas? Stressfull? Really?

Its' actually never happened to me before. I've heard of it, that people say Christmas is insane and stressful, but I grew up loving this holiday so much that my house was always clean and decorated the day after Thanksgiving. In the last few years, that's been getting later and later, and this year, I realize HOLY CRAP, my sister arrives tomorrow at 3, and my house is an unholy inhospitable mess, not a light up, not a tree out, I have an exam on Friday that I'm unprepared for, two kids with Pink Eye, I've missed school, and have to skip work tomorrow, which means no teaching, no training and no freakin' exercise. I have about $8 to my name and no Christmas shopping done.

I'm at a place where I have to make some BIG decisions I wasn't planing on making till much later in the season, I'm writing two books, a training manual, trying to grow my massage business, coaching business, learn to ski better and teach better, and am in school full time.

My support group is going through their own s$%t right now, job hunting, relationships, traveling and incommunicado...

This afternoon, it actually hit me all at once. Kind of RIGHT between the eyes, and, yes, I sat in my truck and had a good cry for about 20 minutes. Then I asked Tiffany if I could go sit on her couch and pet her cat for about 20 minutes before school started again.

Here is the thing. It sneaks up on me, the insane schedule. And I've been working hard for a year on the over commitment thing. The problem is, I LIKE being over committed. It keeps me on my toes. Until it all goes to hell because something like... well, Christmas happens.

And obviously, something has to give. You can do a lot, but not at the price of your sanity. I am proud that I have been unwilling to sacrifice time with my kids for these other "pressing" goals... like dealing with my expired driver's license or an old Jungle Gym income tax issue that won't go away...

And I think this is where I landed: I am lucky to have an amazing support group, who show up by text or IM just when they are needed, and exhaling and realizing that it will all get done in time, but nothing is worth sacrificing the connection and bond with my boys puts it in perspective every time.

I talked with my Head of School, Ruth, who is incredibly cool and supportive, who gave me an outline from which to breathe. Then I talked to Tiff, who goes to school with me, and we made a plan to get caught up. Then I talked to my teachers who are also very cool and said, you'll get there, stay sane on your way, do the best you can, and get it to me when you can.

Then I talked to Bonnie, my boss, who was very nice and said not to worry, and goodluck with the Pink Eye, she'll see me when I get up there.

Then I talked to my mom, who is also going through her own stuff, and she told me she loves me, and I can do it, I can make it.

Then, I came home and hugged my kids and checked in with Megan and Squatty and talked skiing a bit, and sanity a bit, and goal setting a bit, and life path a bit...

And then after everyone had given so much to me, I worked on Tom, who was in a tough place, and gave back to him for a while, and suddenly... I feel okay.

And I know there needs to be some focusing and triage, and we are getting there.

But as my little sister says, this isn't a crisis. The sinking of the Titanic, THAT was a crisis.

So Beth will come at 3 tomorrow, and my house will be how it is, and that's okay, because that's how it is. I'm gonna give massage for presents, and cookies, and that's how its gonna be this year, and that's okay, too, because those are from my heart.

I found my breath again tonight, with a little perspective from my friends, and I'm grateful! I had felt that insane pull of "but I wanted to do Christmas cards, I wanted the house to be a winter wonderland, I wanted the tree up early this year, but I wanted to send gifts, but I want to say thanks and I love you to all the folks who help me so much"

But the reality is that I don't have the cash, and I'm lucky enough to know that a phone call and a thank you and a Merry Christmas will make us feel just as connected. And one day, when I publish my book, or get a bunch of ski camps going, or I win the lotto, I'll send out Christmas cards, but that's not really the point is it?

The point, to me, it seems, is more what happened today, and yesterday. Thanks, Anglea, Megan, Squatty, Shannon, Michael, Kurt, Tiffany, Tamara, Ruth, Tom and Mom! And thanks to Ethan and Bodhi for the beautiful, if sniffly, snuggles.

Happy Holidays, guys, stay sane and take a breath!

Lots of love,

UPDATE: Thanks for all your emails! We're okay, my mom is on the way and I've got some work booked, but I wanted to share the reality of the holiday crush, I know other people feel it too, and you are not alone! :-)

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