Anyone feeling more crabby than cupid?
You know you’ve developed another phobia when you start a post by denouncing the holiday of love to the world. Don’t get me wrong. I love outings with my husband and after 15 years, still find him extremely attractive and all that.
But I’ve realized the older my kids get, the hype surrounding ALL THE HOLIDAYS has got me feeling blue. I’m pining for the days when my kids were younger and didn’t have such lofty expectations.
They were easier to impress back then. My youngest is easy to please, thankfully, but the older two have a bad case of overexposed commercialism. And it doesn’t help that their friends are feeding into the suspense of what they think they might get for V-Day.
I knew from the moment I walked into the grocery store New Year’s Day and saw that first pink and red display bursting with candies and trinkets that I wasn’t prepared. I had this premonition that my kids were going to lust after something elaborate, and that I wasn’t going to provide them with it. Like a giant $40 stuffed animal. Why do they even make those dang things!?
The FEAR of failure made me sick inside.
Since then I’ve tried my best to steer my children from every promotional holiday display in hopes of warding off any unnecessary tantrums and whining episodes, but alas, the time came when I had to visit the store for some basic groceries. It was at the point where we were out of meal ideas and there was no avoiding it. Since it was after school, they just so happened to be with me.
I don’t need to tell you all heck broke loose, because if you’re a mom, you just know.
I tried my best to make a beeline to the back of the store for milk and eggs. But that required a jaunt through Valentine’s central. I made the rookie mistake of digging through my purse to find my grocery list before we were in the clear.
A literal second of hesitation was all it took.
Since the shopping cart I’d chosen in a rush had a broken belt strap, my youngest escaped the cart by catapulting herself onto the couches displayed near the ginormous stuffed bears. She immediately latched onto the first animal she could grab a hold of like a tree-hugging koala bear. I tried to pry her away from the cursed thing, to no avail. She then pulled the dead chicken move and slumped to the floor. My other two were goners, calling out to me from across the aisle, eyes wide and full of excitement. They were already toting armloads of goods.
That’s when my three-year-old took off running down the aisle.
After chasing her for about a minute and weaving my way through the stampede of shoppers destined to block my path, I finally grabbed her by the hood of her coat. She may have gotten slight whiplash. It’s all good. It took all my strength to keep her locked in my grip because aforementioned dead chicken was in full mode as well as the new and improved slithering snake slide.
I made it to the cart, reigned my three kids in and regrouped. We were on a mission to get what was on the list and that was that. No need to comment on how much whining and crying I had to endure as I tried to get every item on my list into the cart. The miracle was that I made it out alive.
Since that day, I’ve walked the store aisles trying to psyche myself up to buy those coveted gifts for my kids. But when I scanned the shelves, all I could see was candy full of dyes, preservatives and sugar. In my mind, the cheap toys all had a life expectancy of a week before they’d get broken or lost, and the stuffed animals really needed a well-deserving orphan.
In the end, I did what any other broke and burned out mom would do. I used a gift card I’d been saving for myself to buy them the little things they’d been needing or already asking me for. I thought I’d go the extra mile and write them each a card containing all of the qualities I loved about them. Then I threw the goods in festive gift bags. Done! I mean, they’d already been spoiled by grandma and they still had their class parties to attend.
The big day came.
My oldest daughter seemed a bit melancholy after discovering the tween bra set and sweat pants in lieu of the giant stuffed bear she’d lusted after for two weeks. I tried not to let it bother me, but deep down I was bummed. And then I was angry. Not long after studying my children’s faces and analyzing their reactions to their gifts, I had a revelation.