Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Setting the tone for 2014

Last night, despite all the work I do to avoid this kind of letdown, I allowed my expectations to completely ruin New Year's Eve.  To be fair, they were low expectations.  I only wanted to eat Chinese food with my whole family, drink a bottle of champagne with my husband, and flip back through pictures of 2013 in order to make a slideshow or scrapbook or something.  Not too demanding.  But impossible.

Some factors working against us that I studiously ignored:

1. New Year's Eve Chinese food orders need to be placed hours and hours early, and most places don't deliver on New Year's Eve.  I had this idea that I would call in my order an hour or so before I wanted to eat and a kind delivery person would drop off steaming dinner to myself and my delighted, well-behaved children.  I spent more time planning what decorative mugs I would use to float tea lights than how a realistic dinner would play out.  I honestly had a picture in my head of all of us opening cookies and sharing our fortunes.  ALL OF US.  I PICTURED ELLIOTT DOING THIS.

2.  Ben was getting out of work "early," but whenever I let that loose term become something concrete, I set myself up for disappointment.  He ended up needing to make deliveries on the way home and I also asked him to pick up a bottle of champagne (something else you don't leave for 6pm on December 31st), so my idea of sitting down to eat at our normal time got pushed further and further back.

3.  Milo has been weirdly, crazily sick for four or five days now.  He'll go from completely exhausted and lethargic to happy and smiling to uncontrollably crying, all in a period of 20 minutes.  His only real symptoms are occasional fever and lack of appetite, but his behavior has been ridiculous, especially in the evenings.  Asking him to wait an extra hour for dinner, asking him to eat when he hasn't in a week...this was too much, but I refused to accept that.

So then real life happened.  The Chinese food order wasn't going to work out, so I defaulted to some Applebee's carside to go, because it would be easy for Ben to pick up.  I know, beyond a doubt, that Applebee's carside to go is always gross.  I ordered it anyway.  The boys were angels until about 15 minutes before Ben was supposed to get home, and then things began to fall apart.  Ben walked in on me losing my temper on a hysterically sobbing Milo.  I think he wanted Mickey?  Seeing Daddy helped until he realized that he had to sit at the dinner table instead of hanging out with Daddy.  He went into a fit (half normal kiddo, half sick psycho) screaming "ME DOWN" until we all hated each other.  Ben and I picked at our food and tried to salvage some portion of THE LAST DINNER OF 2013!  At this point the candles and even real plates were abandoned and we were eating with our hands out of the take out containers.

The hysterics got to be too much so we all started trying to do baths. Milo was still screaming for Mickey like it would save his life and Elliott was getting ignored.  I did not help matters by literally tuning out and falling asleep on the couch.  Ben wrestled the kids into bed and we argued about whether you open champagne at midnight or you can sip it all evening long.  We looked around for The Three Stooges and shared 15 minutes of smiles and laughs.  I fell asleep around 10 when Ben started browsing Netflix.  I woke up at one point because one of the kids was crying and Ben wandered out of the their room holding a glass of champagne.

"Happy New Year."

"Wait, really?  Did we miss it?"

"It's 12:06."

I think that hurt worse than waking up at one or something.  I really like the countdown and seeing everybody cheer and smooching Ben.  I got a text from my mom and went to brush my teeth.  Ben was already asleep.  I was really, really disappointed.

I didn't have time to simmer in my discontent, because Milo woke up screaming and sobbing and sick.  Just as Ben settled him down to sleep with us, Elliott woke up with a high fever.  At least now we could rule out rabies, which was literally what I thought Milo might have.  I ended up sleeping on the floor with Elliott, because both boys needed skin-to-skin contact to make it through the night.  I woke up this morning, half wedged under Milo's crib, and panicked that we might have accidentally just set the tone for 2014.

Then I laughed.  Of course this is the tone for 2014.  This is the realest of real life.  No matter what Instagram or memories of my childhood or my best intentions say to the contrary, most of the time we're dealing with screaming, harried dinners, sick kids, working late, and the letdown of things not going to plan.  I might ask Ben for a redo tonight.  It will be much easier to procure Chinese food, and we could put the kids to bed on time to avoid a cage match over pajamas.  Or maybe I'll just move on through the new year, remembering that our family isn't defined by how we celebrate holidays, but how we handle the day to day.  Here's to keeping it real in 2014.

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At January 2, 2014 at 12:15 PM , Blogger caitlang said...

I am crying <3 I more than love you and your family. and i am so thankful to have a mama like you be so real in my life.


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