Friday, November 16, 2007

living in my head

I work at a place where it's pretty obvious when it's holiday or vacation season. I see families getting ready to brave countless hours on an airplane with small children on a daily basis. Going to visit family and friends in far away places. What usually strikes me is how incredibly cheerful they look. And that's where it all starts to go downhill for me.

"Why can't I feel like that?"
"Why do my small children leave me acting so harried and unkind?"
"God! What must people think of me looking so surly and tired?"
"I'll bet that woman has a great relationship with her mom and and is really looking forward to a nice, long Thanksgiving visit."
"I suck."

And on and on and on. It all starts in my head and makes me fantasize about a fictional family caroling together in a perfect little snow globe world. There they are, preparing to fling across the county toward a loving supportive family who thoroughly enjoys and appreciates time together with turkey and peppermint eggnog and roaring fires that kids don't try and touch and christmas tress that don't topple over when the cat plays with an ornament. While the reality in all these cases may be much closer to my experience than I allow myself to believe, it often feels like I'm the only one negotiating with their spouse down to the minute how long we'll stay for a holiday dinner or crying in frustration that the scotch tape keeps folding over on itself while I'm attempting to play Santa at midnight. Why do I torture myself with visions of how easy and enjoyable it must be for everyone but me? The truth is my kids are really pretty great and can't be blamed for my current state of mind. They're happy and healthy and for the most part, put up with me and my demands for photos, kisses and quiet every now and then. And their hair smells so amazing that I should just shut up and sniff one of their heads for awhile. Right?


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