The post Christmas blues hit with a vengeance today. Pre-Christmas was filled with the usual anticipation; anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth, setting up the Christmas village with the boys, and hanging ornaments on our carefully chosen tree. There was excitement over Caleb coming home for three weeks, family visiting from Ontario, a break from the routine of school, and numerous parties with friends and family. And of course, the ever-present dream, that once the two week “vacation” is over and it’s time to go back to routine, I’ll be energized, refreshed and eager to take on the world again.

Drive-by Tastings and Unlit Lights

But here I sit on January 4 and my Christmas high is no more.

Instead I look around and see a dead Christmas tree who is as limp and lifeless as I feel. The beautiful gingerbread houses that were decorated so festively on Dec. 27 look like they went through a tornado or natural disaster of some sort with gaping roofs, missing doorbells, and wreaths. The scattered crumbs and chunks of icing tell the tale as they form a trail following the tornadoes (aka hungry Brandsma boys) who do a drive by tasting, multiple times an hour. The Christmas lights Levi so faithfully and excitedly plugged in every morning are now left unlit and somehow, sitting in the living room gazing at the dead tree with the unlit lights just doesn’t elicit the same warm and cozy feelings it did a week ago. I look at the calendar and Caleb’s departure date is now only days away. Driving to the airport in December is a whole lot more fun than that same trip in January, let me tell you.

And to top it off, it’s back to work and school in just two “sleeps” and I think I may be more tired than when I started!

It’s January and I’m nursing my post Christmas blues, wishing the break could last another week. Give me one more week and I’m sure I’ll feel like a new woman, ready to tackle whatever lies ahead.

I’ve always had a hard time saying goodbye to things. I waffle between idealizing what was, or thinking wistfully about what wasn’t, those perfect moments I had planned for but never achieved. Nursing a sick kid for half of the break certainly doesn’t conger up nostalgic Christmas memories. Where were those quiet moments away from the routine and normalcy of life that were supposed to refresh and rejuvenate me?

Hallmark vs Reality

But when does a family event at my house ever look like those Hallmark movie moments drenched in happiness and perfection? Why do those Christmas movie actresses never look tired or have their hair in a ponytail or flour on the end of their nose? How do they manage to do it all and still look perky, pretty, and perfect?

Decorating the tree. In the movies, it’s a day of family fun as they tramp through the woods and then head home to hang the ornaments on the tree.

Reality – Levi and Owen took one look at the rain and told Dad he could just pick one up on his way home from work. And when it came time for the ornaments to be hung, Mom was left teetering on a chair, placing the star on the top while Levi valiantly tried to save the tree from toppling onto the floor. Where all the muscle and height in the family went, is still a mystery.

Family games. On the big screen, the family sits in a circle around the table, drinking hot chocolate, and cheering each other on.

Reality – when I pull out a game, everyone (except Levi and Owen) groans loudly. The groan is reluctantly followed by, “Fine, I’ll play but I’m only guessing, I won’t act!” And when they do play, it’s peppered with impromptu wrestling matches which knock over the game board and leave me rolling my eyes, wondering why I even bother.

Christmas light tours. In Hallmark land, it’s a sweet moment, a beautiful evening, where you walk together around the lake to view the free, but still lovely, light display.

Reality – By the time we drive the hour to Lafarge lake, it is pouring rain, we’ve brought no umbrellas, one kid is too cool for a coat. After 20 minutes of fighting our way through the surprisingly large crowd undeterred by rain, Aiden informs us there is a walking direction. And we were NOT walking with it; which explains the grumbles and less than friendly crowd of Vancouverites we met. Oops.

Wave the White Flag

So here I sit, dreading the inevitable 6 am alarm that awaits me Monday morning because I’m grasping vainly to an ideal of perfect contentment and rejuvenation that eluded me during the last two weeks. We’ve spent time together; we’ve done family things and made family memories. Although our family moments are a far cry from Hallmark moments, I have unique and special memories filed away.

After the whirlwind that was these weeks, I’m wondering if I’d even survive the extra week of “vacation” I keep wishing for. If I hear Aiden’s new volleyball bounce off my walls or ceiling one more time or get another foam ball to the head from Levi and Owen’s new mini hockey sticks, I might lose my mind. And if I must rally the troops with Mom’s eternal optimism to play another family game, I might just wave the white flag and join the trench dwellers with their groans and eye rolls.

I’m still dreading that 6 am wake up call, but it’s time. Time to put the ol’ axe to the grindstone again and face the routine and normalcy that is my life.

Because someday, when these boys are grown, and I finally get that quiet moment of peace and rejuvenation, and I’m sitting there all perky, pretty and perfect, I’ll still be missing something and thinking wistfully of what was. But this time, I’ll be missing the boring, mundane, normal routine of my life now. So, I might as well start reveling in it now. Post Christmas blues be gone.