229 Days Remaining
Do you ever have those days where just everything irritates you? I'm feeling so annoyed with everything right now...I try to do something fun and no one is going along with it, so I try to stifle my irritation and let them do their thing, but then just as I get settled with a big mug of apple cider (it is the Christmas season, after all) and am ready to spend some time alone, I'm infiltrated with children and their noise and their mess and their neediness...
Of course you all must know how very much I love my children and that I am always glad for time spent with them, but today and yesterday I'm just pissed off in general. Little things that don't usually bother me are getting to me: Fig left a tiny mess in the kitchen (after I'd just cleaned it); I huffed. The boys moved a desk out of one room into another so that they could put their desks next to each other for coloring; I puffed. One child snarked at me for mentioning him in a Facebook post; I snarled. The kids started asking for money to buy Christmas presents (which I've already given them) and then didn't actually buy any presents with it; I gnarfed (that's a new word I just made up to describe both the sound I made and the feeling that was building up inside me: I feel so GNARFY!). Now we're home from the mall (let's not get started on what a person who is feeling generally annoyed at the world feels while in a shopping center the day before Christmas Eve) and I want to retreat into my room and be left alone for a while, but they are in here now. Argh.
I wasn't sure where this irritability was coming from; after all, that Katy Perry time of the month is over for the time being, so my emotions should generally be on a pretty even keel. But I noticed it starting yesterday. For a few days I've had this idea in my head that the household (me, my kids, and Fig and his son) could make a video for Christmas; you know, a music montage. I could envision it clearly: set to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and featuring all of us having fun in various Christmasy ways. Yes, I am a total sap, and yes, it is a long shot to think that any teenagers would be interested in participating, but I hoped that in some way I could round them all up to participate. Fig was game and managed to convince his son that it would be fun, and my youngest (who is always eager to please, and can see fun in anything) was totally into the idea. Can't you picture it? Opening scene: glittering lights on a tree, boughs stretching across a multitude of presents, and me and my kids dancing with Fig and Young Fig in front of it. Cut to a scene of my daughter and her friends laughing as they bake cookies, tossing flour playfully at one another. Cut again to all of us sitting by the fireplace, gigantic mugs of steaming hot chocolate in our hands. Other scenes played out in my head before I had even mentioned it to anyone: the boys handing each other presents and shaking the boxes as they tried to guess what was inside; all the kids sitting in front of a classic Christmas film like White Christmas or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer; pulling hot cookies out of the oven and oohing and aahing over packed-full stockings hanging by the fireplace.
I had little hope that my older son would be interested in anything to do with it, but lo and behold, he wanted to film for us, so I began to think that this silly ridiculous totally Mom-type idea would actually come to fruition. We filmed a scene of two of the kids and myself on the couch with the dogs, watching Rudolph, and then Fig - who has been nursing a very bad chest infection - came down and patiently sat by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate as the boys clowned around. It was working! Our Christmas video montage was going to happen and it would be great!
But as soon as I asked the boys if they would dance by the tree, it all fell flat. My older son lost interest in filming and began sketching comics at his desk. Fig was feeling so sick that all he could do was lie his head down on the breakfast bar and moan occasionally (although he made a valiant attempt to coax the kids to participate). Fig Jr. balked at the idea of dancing and immediately hid from the camera, and when I asked him to help me bake some cookies (Fig was ready to grab some fast footage with the camera) happily did so, but frowned as soon as he saw the camera pointed in his direction ("Don't film me, Dad!) and soon scooted out of the room to watch TV. My younger son, drawn in by his older's brother's art (you like what I did there?), meandered into the den and began his own drawing session. I grumpily finished up baking a bunch of useless cookies and cleaned up, Brenda Lee still droning in my head, "Everyone dancing merrily in the new old-fashioned way..."
It was too much to expect of everyone, I know, but somehow I still had hope that it would happen and we could be the cheesiest family on the block. I think part of me didn't really think everything would work out, but because people were actually showing some interest, my hopes were raised. Still, I shouldn't have gotten so annoyed when they didn't all do exactly what I wanted them to do.
I feel better now that I've written about it and had some time to myself. The kids have migrated back downstairs and left me to my own devices, and perhaps wisely so. I'll take a few more minutes to just breathe and relax, and then I'll move on and see what they would like to do. Maybe we can find something that we'll all enjoy.
(And maybe I'll prop the camera up somewhere to record everything we do, just in case...)