How was your Christmas, friends?
I have a tendency of putting waaayyyyyy too much stress upon myself. School finished yet I still had to go in on my non-teaching duty day to do some paperwork and tidy up my classroom. By choice, though, as I could have just left it but then it would have awaited me in January. In the meantime a students’ book order came in, unfortunately not in time for me to give them to her on her last day of class, but yet since I knew she wanted them for Winter Break I got in touch with her Dad to get them to him. Did I mention that I work on the opposite side of town?
Did I mention that my stepdaughter was getting married that Friday? So the decorating, rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner was Thursday night. Although I haven’t known Abby and her fiance very long, they are very important part of my life, and other events have happened that have estranged her from her birth mother. Combine that with planning for a wedding and not having her mom involved would be hard on any daughter. I, for one, couldn’t imagine it, as I have a wonderfully, amazing relationship with my own mother. But yet as a stepmom, where do you draw the line as to where not to butt in where it’s not your role and keep the peace? I did my best to stay respectful in my role and help out the best way I could, a challenge, as I was super conscious of not sticking my nose in where it shouldn’t have been. Fortunately, it went off well, there weren’t any hurt feelings and I don’t think I did anything I shouldn’t have and intentionally offend anyone.
Attempting to plan around two different parenting plans as well as adult children made coordinating Christmas a little more difficult. We eventually settled on us hosting a Christmas lunch. Some of the children had their Christmas presents in the morning, others had them later in the afternoon once my 3 came home, and even more were later in the evening at the grandparents’ house. Unfortunately, Mike’s youngest wasn’t feeling well and by mid-afternoon was running a fever, putting a damper on his day, I’m sure. I guess I shouldn’t put as much pressure on myself but I put so much thought and effort into gifts and meals and making sure that everyone’s needs are met that I struggle with keeping my own head above water. By the time we were done volunteering in the nursery at church and home, I was in tears, overwhelmed with the many aspects of, well, everything!
Standing over the frying pan making pancakes Christmas morning, I prayed for God to change my heart. It was all so . . . different . . . After all, this time last year I was preparing for Christmas and my own out-of-town elopement ceremony. This year has been tumultuous but happy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to change, and some changes are good but I wondered if Mike’s children were feeling the same as I was. This isn’t the way things have been. Blending families is challenge enough and for whatever reason, Christmas seems harder than other holidays. I tend to take things too personally. The reason why one of the boys was in a bad mood was because of me, not because they weren’t feeling well. The reason why the plates weren’t full was because they didn’t like what I had cooked, not because they’d eaten too many pancakes that morning. The reason why they didn’t say anything about their gift was because they didn’t like what I had picked, not because they were side-tracked by something else. See what I mean? Perception is something else.
I survived Christmas. There were no tears or arguing. There was lots of laughter and smiles with some reminiscing. Even playing Wii and competitive personalities didn’t dampen spirits! My overly sensitive smoke alarm only went off a few times when I was baking the apple pie but yet not because I was burning it. The food was delicious and I actually coordinated it all coming together at the same time (thank heavens for microwaves to help with potatoes that didn’t cook through in the crock pot even after being on for hours!). Everyone got along with everyone else. Who could ask for more? I am indeed blessed.