The holiday hustle and bustle was beginning to leave me feeling more frazzled than festive this year.
An increased workload for both my husband and myself, combined with financial stress and a few back-to-back tummy bugs had put Christmas cheer in our household to the wayside – well, that is until recently.
Strangely enough, it took a pretty-darn embarrassing scenario with a saucy little nudist, topped off by a mini-mom meltdown to let my heart be merry and light.
Confused? Let me set the scene.
Christmas shopping is stressful enough – throw in a tyrannical two-year-old and you have a recipe for disaster.
While I should have known better, I decided I’d take my youngest daughter, Zoe, into the changing room at the mall so I could “quickly” try on a pair of dress pants to wear to a Christmas party.
As I bent down to pull up my pants, I felt a wee sting on my derriere from a small hand.
“You have a big fat bum mommy!” shouted my precocious preschooler as she gave me a little swat.
Muffled laughter from neighbouring change rooms made it clear her sentiment was heard by fellow shoppers. At that moment, I decided to ditch my efforts to try on pants and focussed on getting dressed and out the door. However, my darling feisty redhead had other big plans – she wanted to get undressed just like mom. In less time than it took to put on my shoes, she managed to strip down to nothing.
“You can’t get me,” she taunted as she ditched her pull-up and darted towards the change room curtain, eager to show all the shoppers her birthday suit.
Fortunately, I was able to grab her in the nick of time – even so, I left the mall feeling defeated.
“I can’t get anything done. I don’t know what the he%# I’m doing. Why is motherhood so hard? I’m ready for Christmas to be over!” I said to my husband on the phone while sitting in the mall parking lot.
With my husband working his fourth late shift in a row, I was exhausted being a solo parental figure. To top it off, we still hadn’t purchased a single Christmas gift, our house showed no sign of festive cheer and I seemed to have gone up a pant size.
Almost on cue, snowflakes began to sprinkle down onto my car windshield – it was the first snowfall of the season. Both girls pressed their faces against the window to get an eye-full of the fluffy white stuff.
“Christmas is here, Christmas is here,” exclaimed Zoe from the back seat. “Can we play in the snow? Can we eat the snow?”
“Not the yellow snow,” quipped her older sister.
Little giggles turned into bellowing belly laughs from all three of us. Suddenly the change room fiasco from only moments before was forgotten as was my meltdown. It was at that moment I realized I’d been so busy focusing on all the big things like our mortgage payments, looming deadlines, a never-ending pile of pink laundry and a growing backside that I realized I was missing out on so much.
I’m not just talking about getting caught up on Christmas shopping, finishing my holiday baking or trimming the tree – I mean the everyday things that are easily overlooked when you’re caught up with the hustle and bustle.
When we got home that night, I left the dishes on the counter, set my phone aside and snuggled my girls on the couch for a festive family movie night. I was determined to carve out two full hours of uninterrupted, live-in-the-moment family time.
As the credits rolled, Zoe leaned up against my shoulder and whispered softly into my ear.
“When I grow up, can I have a big bum too mommy?” she asked.
“Maybe if you’re a good girl, Santa will bring you one for Christmas,” I joked.
While life isn’t going to slow down anytime soon, I’ve since made a point of pressing pause to soak up these fleeting moments – the good, embarrassing and hilarious.
Fortunately for us, there are no shortage in the Clark household. From our house in “the Valley” to yours, happy holidays!
Kristyl Clark is a stay-at-home-mom and founder of the family blogazine, She’s a Valley Mom (www.shesavalleymom.com). She writes monthly for The Leader.