The time between the end of classes and this week has been angst-ridden. Not enough cookies made (sorry!), not the presents I wanted to give, not the schedule I had worked out in my own little idealistic mind, not the way I wanted to feel. I ended up showing Chris the scarf I'm making him so that I could knit it while he's around (which, now that classes are over, he always is! Any other time of year I would be so happy about this, but I found myself creating errands for him to get him out of the house so I could just knit twenty more rows...madness).
But now, we have only two days left and I am letting go of all the undone, unperfect, unaffordable, unbaked little monkeys stacked up on my back. Christmas cards not done? I'm sure people will still open them if they arrive after Christmas. No beautiful plate of cookies for the daycare teachers? I bet they also like fudge. Didn't send cookies to all the people I usually do? I'm (pretty) sure they will still love me.
Reaching this point - and I am as familiar with this point as with the mania that precedes it, as it seems to be part of my own holiday tradition, with the turning point usually landing on the solstice (here comes the sun!) - is always a bittersweet relief. This year it is mostly relief, because there is so much actual sweetness going around the house.
While I think that next year will really be the year that Cora puts it all together, I have to say that she is doing pretty good this year, too. She jumped up and down clapping when she saw our Christmas tree, squealing, "My Christmas tree, my *Christmas* tree!" We've tracked Rudolph in the snow and she cried when other reindeer made fun of his/her nose (Rudolph's gender is in flux) in the TV show. She loved Santa's visit to her school last week and the little stuffed bunny he gave her. She expects baby Jesus to show up at church any time now, and also wants him to have a birthday party.
I can't wait for her to come down the stairs Christmas morning and see the dollhouse we're giving her. We only have three presents under the tree right now, and she has been so good. Only once has she picked one up and asked to open it. I went through the list of days until Christmas with her and why we were waiting and she did eventually put it back under the tree. I praised her good listening and she came and sat on my lap and whispered, "Can I have a sticker for good listening?" And we put one on her chart - right by the drawing of her ear, which she loves to touch and say, "That my ear? That me listening?"
So, I'm ready to put away my lists (except for the grocery list!) and just enjoy the magic. But, I do firmly believe that those lists are part of what makes the magic happen. I'm not making any resolutions to abandon my mania-release cycle; just being aware that it is a cycle is enough for me.