It’s the Part of Winter Break When…

I caught my kid’s puke last night inside the puke bag – all of it except for the chunks that landed on my left hand before they slid with a shake of my wrist into the bag with their buddies.

I don’t know when I started considering puke shots that make it in off the rim worthy of full points, but it was a 2-pointer in my book, for sure. I marked up the stats, credited myself with the assist, and moved quickly down the court to help the rest of my team, because the game doesn’t stop when someone makes or misses a shot. It just keeps going and going and going until someone calls timeout or the buzzer sounds Game Over, except without timeouts and no game ender in sight, ’cause this is Life, not basketball.

My cousin came over the other night and said, “Are you OK? You don’t look OK.” 

I said, “I’m tired.” 

It’s the part of Winter Break when I’m sure I have mono. Or a defunct thyroid. Or a rare blood disease. Or an entire, malevolent alien race harvesting my energy to power their space ships.

So tired.

I’m so, so tired.

I did it, though! I pulled off the logistical side Christmas!

It came with ribbons!
It came with tags!
It came with packages, boxes and bags!

And EVERY SINGLE ONE of my little Whos in our Ville had a gift. Because I did not falter, I did not fail, and I REMEMBERED each of them! Which is a feat worthy of retelling because I have FIVE KIDS, man, plus some extras this year, and I forgot to hand over loot to zero of them. 

Which is, I know, not the point of Christmas at all.

Except when you’re the mama and in charge of These Things. 

And then remembering the packages really is one of the Thousand Points of Christmas, along with the Light in the Darkness and the Birth of the Baby and the Magic in the Mess. Both/And, it turns out. It’s all very Both/And.

photo 1 (67)

But now…

Well, now’s the part of Winter Break when Christmas is over, and we’re hung over on Christmas treats and dragging our feet from a tsunami of rapturous Fun Family Time Together.

We’re swimming in a sea of discarded wrapping paper and drinking the dregs of the peppermint hot chocolate.

photo 3 (52)We’re recovering from surgery and exhaustion and the flu and too much free time. And, by recovering, I mean we are distancing ourselves from those things in time, not that we’re actually showing signs of recovery per se.

I’d write in a cute action phrase here, like **wipes sweat from mama brow**, except I have neither the time nor the motivation to wipe figurative sweat which will reappear in mere seconds. Just like making my bed, brow-wiping is an exercise in futility and thoroughly wasted effort, so I’m opting out.

My children haven’t changed their clothes since Saturday. Or Friday. Or Thursday. I don’t even know. And they’re staring at All the Screens. Every Screen we own. All at once. And I am doing nothing by word or by deed to discourage them. 

I’m under the Winter Break water, friends. It’s true. But I am NOT drowning because I DECLARE I’m not, and I have a thin straw to my lips with which I’m sucking an inadequate amount of oxygen. But OXYGEN nonetheless; I have some! I am upright!

You know, except when I’m flat on the floor, on my face, and done in. 

There is not enough coffee in all the world, friends. Not enough coffee in all the world. 

The End

……….

P.S. There are still 3 more giveaways coming! I think we’re on Day 10 of 7+ Days of Giveaways. Or something. I’ve lost track of this along with my sanity, sense of self and appropriate personal hygiene. I WILL get back to the giveaways soon, though. Probably even this week. And maybe even back to bathing myself. But I must feed my children before I do anything else. They insist on being fed. 

P.P.S. Status report requested. How are YOU doing this Winter Break? Feel free to report Trials or Triumphs — I plan to either feel less alone or live vicariously, depending on your update. 

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
53 comments
  1. I may be the only person here who wanted winter break to go on another week. Not because I’m SuperMOM, but because once break is over I have to spend hours each day driving the three of them in three different directions (7:30 drop off at middle school; 8:30 drop off at pre-school; 11:00 pick up at pre-school; 3:00 drop off at work; 4:00 drop off at dance class; 5:00 pick up at dance class; 5:30 pick up from work… and that’s an “easy” day.) Did I mention that I work full-time from home? They went back to school yesterday and today was a snow day — I am loving this… not to mention two more weekend days of being lazy at home!

  2. I have been there friend. Be gentle with yourself-love and peace to you!

  3. We homeschool at our house, the kids know, “Mom doesn’t give us a Christmas break”.
    They do get a few days off so I can “get ready for C’mas” and then it’s back to school.
    I can’t handle them having too much free time!!

  4. I’m with you. I am just sick of picking up all the s$/@($&;! Both figuratively and literally. I never thought I would say that I was ready to go back to work but I am ready. And this is saying something as my work is to welcome 5 other daycare kids into my house. The daycare kids have rules and know what the score is. My 5 kids are home for break and say “rules, what rules?” They move from one end of the house to the other like a swarm of locusts devouring everything in their path to eat. And if one more person asks me “what’s for dinner… Lunch or breakfast” one more rime, I am going to punch something.
    My saving grace in all of this is that today is my birthday. I have refused to cook, clean, bathe, wipe or pander to anyone younger than I for the whole day, and I am the oldest person in my household! Yeah me! I am walking out of my house to go to lunch, dinner and a movie and then a grown up party with friends. Happy New Year to me and all of you and just remember they have to go back to school sometime!

    1. Happy Birthday. Have a lovely at your party with grown up friends.

  5. Let’s just say, I want to find the person who thought two weeks vacation was a good idea and lock them in a room with my children until Monday rolls around.

  6. Child #3 got a pair of really cool socks for Christmas. I mean REALLY cool; red and black plaid cool. And I just noticed he is still wearing them. On New Years Eve. And btw he wears socks to bed, so these haven’t even aired out overnight once in the last week. And I JUST noticed. And didn’t even make him change, because it’s vacation! Happy New Year, Beth – Thanks for the great overview of Christmas – all the really important things like the light/baby Messiah/peace and all the things we try and try to downplay like PRESENTS but which we still magically manage to take care of because we are mothers and we leave no child ungifted.

  7. NO KIDDING!! Winter break is NOT a break for Mamas…our work is just harder/faster/more expensive during the kid’s break. I have washed more dishes in the last two weeks than I think I ever ever have. God Bless you with your 5…I think I would just stay under the table if I had 5!

  8. I sent my children to their grandparents’ house for the last 2 days of winter break (minus New Year’s Day…I get them back tonight). This was mostly a sanity saving measure for me, and a life saving measure for them because I work from home and my job is ending but first I have to try to wrap up a hotel sale in two days and luckily I realized I couldn’t do that AND parent at the same time. So they are happy, I am…well, happy they are happy…everybody wins. Except possibly the grandparents. Although I think they win too because my mother-in-law taught my 9 year old how to piece and sew a quilt and apparently he won’t stop, so now he’s entertained for the rest of the time.

  9. Mixed bag here.

    I finally got to the end of that pregnancy that was dragging on forever– but it’s not a happy ending, as it turns out. So I am packing up the tiny baby things and putting them away and getting ready to get back on the “trying” roller coaster again as soon as the bleeding stops.

    But hey, today I cleaned up my studio and wrestled all the gift wrapping stuff back into its box and everything. Plus, I washed some dishes, AND I fed my children. 2014 may just be my year– 2013 certainly wasn’t it.

    1. I’m so sorry. Sending a hug your way. And here’s to a better next year.

    2. Sending love to you, Elizabeth, and plopping myself down to sit in the mud with you a while. I’ve just sent you an email. x’s and o’s, mama.

    3. Love and peace to you.

    4. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. That stinks any time of year, but now it is worse.

    5. Sending hugs your way. And love. And all the stuff that I hope will help, but know it won’t. nevertheless, know you aren’t alone. We are with you, in spirit.

    6. Love and light to you.

    7. No words…reaching out with love and caring.

    8. Praying for you, sweet Mama! Your lap will be full when you get to Heaven. Your little angel is in God’s comforting arms, but I know that doesn’t make your days easier at the present. It takes time to feel normal again. Xoxo and prayers…

    9. I’m sorry Elizabeth. Take it easy.

    10. So sorry dear. Much love. Xoxo

    11. Oh honey. Tears and hugs and no words because I’m rubbish at them and there aren’t any. Know we’re all with you in spirit and thoughts and prayers.

    12. The pain of packing up unworn, tiny baby things is a river that runs deep through a broken heart. I’m thinking of you.

    13. It’s a heavy fog for now, and when the sun burns it off we’ll have to squint. But then… Ohhhh then…

    14. Love and prayers sweet Elizabeth.

    15. Giving u a big hug through the cyber waves…..and clearing some space for you to just be. Love to u and your whole family.

    16. No words. Just hugs and prayers.

    17. Prayers going up for you!

    18. That makes for a pretty craptastic year. I lost a baby in my 2nd trimester in 2008 and I’m so sorry that you’re now on that same journey. Kudos for getting your kids fed AND washing dishes, my first months of grief I was totally useless! Thinking of you and hoping that 2014 is definitely a better year for you. The sun will shine again, you will feel joy again, it just takes time. All you can do is hold on for dear life and ride the roller coaster of up and down moments, days and weeks to come. Sending lots of love your way

    19. I am so sorry your angel wasn’t ready for this world. There are no words except I am crying with you.

    20. There’s nothing I can say other that I am so sorry for your loss. I hope you will give yourself time, space, and permission to feel whatever emotions you need to feel. Know that you are not alone and that we grieve alongside you. Sending you hugs through cyberspace.

    21. Sending love and peace and prayers to you mama. It’s okay to cry. I’m So sorry.

    22. Oh no…. Elizabeth, I am so terribly sorry. Been there.

    23. Love to you, Elizabeth. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    24. So very sorry – May you feel God’s presence now and in the days to come…..

    25. I’m really sorry, Elizabeth. I can’t imagine. Praying God will give you strength during this tough time.

    26. There is really nothing that can be said that you don’t know, and I can’t really add anything that hasn’t already been said. But I can’t not tell you that I’m sorry, and that you aren’t alone. I can only hope that helps to know that I am waving to you in the dark. I hope you can find some peace and regain your joy sometime in this New Year. Love and light to you, Mama.

    27. So sorry for your loss.

    28. Hugs and more hugs. Wish I could do more than hugs. You’re not ever alone. More hugs.

  10. Two thoughts to share:

    1. Oh wow I can relate to “All The Screens” – I have two boys walking around with new Screens in their hands like they have been attached with crazy glue. I quit fighting that fight, soon enough The Screens will be pried out of their hands when returning to school.

    2. Yesterday I mentally checked out and stayed on sofa with a blanket for five straight hours. Even dozed off – dinner got made and my youngest even enjoyed bringing me things every time I asked (candy, chocolate, water, and his kisses).

    I am a lucky but still tired Mama.

  11. We are on day 8 of my 9 year old recovering from her tonsillectomy – oh and 9 days ago we (the 7 year old twin girl) got diagnosed with the flu – in case you were not aware – Tamiflu might make the flu last a little bit less than normal but it upsets the stomach sooo much that she puked each time I gave it to her – stopped giving it to her so as to quit having to clean out the puke bucket – which all my kids carry around when they are coughing so hard that they puke from coughing so much – that was Christmas night – the bonus – all the puke made it on the bed – so the positive was that I didn’t have to figure out how to clean the carpet – just had to rinse off the sheets and bedspread and stick them in the washer. So understand your situation!

  12. We are on vacation, staying in a family cabin. My husband said he couldn’t go sledding today because he was coming down with something. Yeah, something like I need a vacation from our four kids day! So I took them sledding, out to eat, or to visit cousins and still came back and had to clean the cabin before family came over. When we get home and”break” is over I’m taking a few do nothing says to myself!

  13. Last night our 3 year old came into our room (my husband’s side of the bed-thankfully), said her stomach hurt and then puked all over him. So my husband lost the one day he was going to be able to take the kids to daycare and have a day to himself.

    Personally, with kids in two different places, the schedules have driven me a little crazy. One place is closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The other Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. We only use childcare MWF, but it was still enough to drive me a little crazy!

  14. Mom of a (newly) 4 year old and 2 1/2 year old twins here. We also made it through Christmas. But (BUT!) there is excitement in the air in our house. Because… wait for it… my husband and I are going on a DATE. On NEW YEARS EVE. We’re going to go out with my BFF and her husband to a comedy club/NYE party. This is not JUST a date. This is a THING.

    (Many thanks to our gym, Sport Fit, for offering overnight (mostly) babysitting on New Years Eve.) We’re going to drop our kids off at 6pm and we don’t have to retrieve them until 1:30am. Best part (aside from the comedy show and music and open bar and midnight buffet)? WE DON’T HAVE TO CLEAN OUR HOUSE because no one is coming over to watch the kids. Woot!

  15. It’s slow season for dad, so he gets to do winter break mostly. I get to come home after working all day to a sink full of dirty dishes and a house that has been fully wrestled in. Except for this evening- I came home to a tidied house and dinner in the crock pot. It’s the little surprises that keep the romance alive. Nothing is sexier than a man cooking dinner.

  16. My kids all want to DO STUFF, while I just want to rest, and rest, and I’d like some more rest, please. I’m trying to get them to sit and watch some of the 47 movies they got, or play a nice board game and all they want is to assemble this or go shop for that, or heaven forbid, have friends over.

  17. So freeking ready for winter break to be over!! I started the break already stupid crazy exhausted from two jobs, two kids, and a house to maintain, and if that weren’t enough I am in month three of working outside the home for the first time since my first kid was born… 11 years ago… and *not* adapting well.
    So of course, I was all looking forward to my teacher husband being off work for two weeks to help me out and help me get back on top of my life a little bit. And what happens, the first day of break he put his back out… badly… and not just sissy badly, I mean really truly could barely walk even if the house were on fire badly. Did I mention I do *not* have two weeks off from either job, or dishes, or meals, or laundry, or “get away from your sister”, or “please stop criticizing your brother”. And, now I also got to walk the dog, do the trash, and drive to appointments.
    Well needless to say I am even less on top of life than when break started and I am so tired and weary… just so weary… that I occasionally just burst into tears, usually in the car, where all the strangers driving near me can watch…
    And, to top it off, I got a message from a company that I ‘like’ on facebook saying that I had won a little basket of goodies from a facebook game that I had played, but that I had to come and pick it up during a certain window. Well, with a schedule like mine has been, trying to do anything during a “certain window” of time is just right out and there was simply no way I could fit it in during that time to drive all the way over there. And I really could have used a little pampering just then.
    Wow! I think I might have actually run out of things to say. Thank you so much for the space to vent, I have been shoving this down for days and it feels good just to get it out.

    1. Thank you for the honesty and mamaraderie, Eva. Sending love your way.

    2. hang in there…..I’m rooting for u!

  18. I’m in Australia so it’s summer hols and I sent my one and only to childcare yesterday so that I could have a break.

  19. I only have one very little one, so winter break is not a thing I look forward to yet. However, I work in a bakery/cafe and I have seen SO MANY parents in the last two days who are obviously Done with winter break. Between screen time and too much togetherness, there has been an inordinate amount of, “I can’t wait for school to start again” going on. So I feel the pain, vicariously! And directly, I guess, since the out of control monsters make my work day extra long. We’ll make it though – good luck to all, and to all a good night 🙂

  20. My husband’a friend called (he has six kids) and said he loved his kids but needed a break from them would he please go to a movie with him. I laughed because I have only two kids and I felt the same.

  21. i let my son look at All The Screens yesterday as well. This “winter break” is missing that break part.

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