Here’s the Thing: The real housewives of Christmas break

On the the something day of Christmas my true love gave to me, forty-five cookies, twenty 1-hour photo Christmas cards, three recitals, and my muddled brain in a pear tree. (Disturbing.)

We have two weeks of Christmas vacation. If you have kids in school, this is what your schedule might look like. The first week is hustling like the rent is due. It consists of being thrown into whatever activity the people in your life can come up with. Everyone wants to party. Bring cookies here. Do a potluck there. Make it rain candy everywhere. Donate your time for this. Buy a little gift for that. Attend everything that you can.

My son in preschool had his Christmas recital at private school, my daughter had her school recital in an auditorium, and then my son had an ice skating Christmas recital. Let’s talk about that.

All the recitals were very adorable. Fantastic job by everyone that worked hard on them. The truth about recitals as a parent is a rough, naked truth. I may have picked out my outfit a week prior or an hour prior, but you’ll never know. Have you ever sat behind the lady holding up her giant iPad so no one can see? It’s not fun. I can’t pick on her too much, because I was Sneezy McBeezy three rows back. I didn’t anticipate the yeti in front of me with animal hair all over their coat. It’s my fault, I should be living in a plastic bubble, but I don’t. Are you there God? It’s me, Zyrtec. Everybody give me a round of applause, I’m the smart mom that gave her preschooler chewing gum before he sang in the choir. At least he had fresh minty breath and then spit it out after the first song.

I bought a new tunic for my daughter’s recital, but since I’m an Oompa Loompa, I wore it as a dress. During her recital, I looked down and there was a giant hole in the middle. Maybe I missed that when my daughter was arguing with me to wear my black boots just minutes before we got in the car.

Hello, stomach flu! You started at 5 a.m. then left me crippled that entire afternoon until 4 p.m. where I stood alone like a creeper at the ice skating recital. Don’t worry, I did not touch anything.

I’m not complaining, they were all fantastic, I had a wonderful time, but there’s always a lot of real life happening this time of year. My favorite thing about recitals is they are usually predictable and planned. For this time of year, that is a huge gift in itself. Bravo!

There is a diplomatic way to handle this time of year. People like to use the word, “stress”. That’s kind of a dirty word in my circle of people. It means your peace is gone and you’re a mess. So I turned the phrase. I’m not stressed, I’m “overwhelmed.” You can be pulled in a million directions and still be in a good mood. When I was in college, with no kids, husband, or family life for some reason I was always stressed. My stomach would feel like a mix of irritable bowel syndrome and like I drank poison, so I’d take acid reflux pills, which back then looked like purple bees. Maybe they still do.

For the first time in about 12 years, I felt that way this morning. Measuring up your failures will do that to you. I always say, “If you look for disappointment in others, you will always find it.” It’s a way to remind myself to look for the best in people. But the same concept goes for myself. Only that’s not what this time of year is about. It’s about where our souls can find rest. It’s about having faith in the peace that resides in your heart.

Here’s the thing: We have one week of Christmas vacation left. The first week is challenging and a little chaotic. This week that is left, try to find rest. Already my kids are getting used to being a full time family again. We remember that we have many cousins and shirt-tail cousins (we’re Alaskans after all). We’re not all being pulled in different directions for piano lessons, basketball games, the daily school grind, or whatever else we all do. It’s been nice.

In a crowded room, while decorating cookies at my busy in-laws’ house, my son wrapped his 5-year-old arms around me and whispered what I thought would be tattling on someone, but wasn’t, “Mom, you are super beautiful.” I woke up out of my haze and fell back to earth. This week I plan on doing nothing but love on my loved ones.

Happy New Years!

Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at

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