Prisoner of Christmas Vacation

Ah, Christmastime. A time of peace on earth, goodwill toward men, and figgy pudding (whatever figgy pudding might be). This is the time of year children covet, not just for the toys that Santa crams down the chimney, but for the glorious two-week vacation from school that accompanies all the merriment.

I, too, got swept up in the excitement of my daughter’s two-week respite from school. As the last day of school approached, I thought, How fun! We will sleep-in and frolic as a family for two whole weeks!  I was so excited that I decided to keep a journal to forever remember our family Christmas.

December 21: First day of Christmas vacation! My daughter woke up a little earlier than I expected, but that’s okay—she must be as excited as I am to get the fun started! Today we are going to make candy!

December 22: Candy making was a success! And by “success” I mean my pants no longer fit comfortably. Oh well, calories don’t count at Christmastime anyway and I have plenty of yoga pants with extra stretch in them. Today I have invited my daughter’s best friend over so the two of them can play and decorate cookies together!

December 23: I’m still picking sprinkles off the dog after yesterday’s cookie decorating. And I just noticed there is frosting on my chandelier. Oh, but listening to the two of them talk about Santa was priceless! 

December 24: I can’t believe it—Christmas Eve! I have planned a meal the likes of which have never been seen before! Mostly new recipes, but I love cooking for my family. I also have a ton of wrapping to do tonight, but I love wrapping as much as I love cooking. My stomach is feeling a bit queasy but I’m sure it’s nothing, just all the excitement of the holiday!

December 25: The best thing I can say about yesterday’s dinner is that it was edible. At least that’s what my husband told me. The cooking is kind of a blur because I spiked a fever. I don’t know, something had nutmeg in it and there might have been a potato dish. I spent the evening with my head in the toilet. One thing is for sure: no one holds mommy’s hair when she’s down for the count. Nope, I just kept vomiting while cursing my fate. At one point, a tomato got lodged in my nose so I made a solemn vow to try and chew better in the new year.  My husband had to take over and do all the wrapping, which means the presents looked like a crumbled pile of yuletide rubble but when you’re in my condition you just have to accept it. Or complain nonstop, which I did.

December 26 – 28: Fever, chills, vomit, repeat. If I don’t find the strength to crawl out of bed and take a shower, surely my home will be condemned.

December 29: I feel well enough to venture into the living room and see the damage my husband and daughter have done while I convalesced. Oh sweet mother of pearl. I’m going to need a shovel to clean this place. Maybe we will just move. Oh, look at that pile of dishes in the sink. Yeah, we will just move.

Dec. 30: I have recovered, the house is clean, and my mommy guilt has taken a firm hold of me. I wanted to do so many things with my daughter and then I got sick and was out of commission for so long. Well, I’m making up for lost time now—today is craft day! 

Dec. 31: Craft day fizzled out after about twenty minutes. We set out to build a castle, but what we ended up with is a pile of popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners that slightly resemble the large intestine. I have also been thinking about my New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur, so I’m keeping them simple this year. My goals are: to gain weight (already started that), accrue more debt (started that one too), and swear more (this one won’t be a problem either because the longer Christmas vacation goes on, the more patience I lose; the swearing will be inevitable—a real win/win situation).

Jan. 1: Happy New Year! New beginnings and new adventures await! Oh, who the hell am I kidding? It’s just Wednesday.

Jan. 2: I have been playing my daughter’s favorite pretend game, known simply as “Bear Family.” This game entails me being the voice of fifteen stuffed bears and their assorted “cousins” from the animal kingdom. I’m pretty good at improv but my daughter keeps yelling, “Cut!” and redirecting me. I can’t work under these conditions. 

Jan. 3 – 4: I have been the voice of all the stuffed bears for so long now that I fear my sanity may have suffered a severe blow. I attempted to use the bathroom by myself today but was headed off by my daughter and the dog. I should have known better.

Jan. 5: I made it. School starts tomorrow. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Wait, I also see snow…

Jan. 6: School was cancelled because of snow. I can’t be the voice for any more bears. I can’t. I must escape. But where? In a bold move, I make a break for the bathroom, grabbing a book as I lunge for the door and lock it. Great, it’s a medical textbook. I grab the shampoo bottle and read it instead. If school is cancelled tomorrow, I swear I’m going to drop my daughter off at the superintendent’s house for the day.

Jan. 7: School today! I can’t stop smiling. Today I get my sanity back. I took my daughter to school then came home. I walked passed her room and saw all the stuffed teddy bears on her bed. I choked back a sob and thought, ‘I miss my baby. When is spring break?’


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