Holidays, especially Christmas, bring out the best and worse in all of us. On one hand people everywhere are buying gifts for little children, making time for family activities and showing goodwill. On the other, financial pressures boil over, suicides happen, over doses and alcholism rage while dysfunctional family dynamics surface. It's a season of Goodwill for all and a season of many aching hearts. A mother grieves for the son who took his own life. Children are passed back and forth between divorced parents, who all to often use them as pawns. Elderly, forgotten souls pine for the day their children will make time to see them once again. Working in an Emergency Room this time of the year, one almost needs therapy to survive the onslaught of emotions. This is where outdoor.mom's stories are never allowed to be told.
Just a few short days ago, I had planned to enjoy several days off over the Christmas break. Before I knew it, I was no longer contemplating gingerbread men, but had once again turned hospital supervisor on the Eve of Christmas. In between patients, our good doctor tracked Santa's whereabouts on a military Internet website. The ward clerk brought in hors d'oeuvres. A CNA wrapped presents for her kids. I found myself unprepared, not having planned for this row of shifts.
Untold hours ago, I hurriedly assigned Sock Fashion Expert the task of planning a holiday dinner in the event Uncle Cheddar showed up. I had tried to nap, but was thwarted many times. Alien Robots carried on a loud dialect in my living room before going outdoors to play. "Be quiet boys! Mom is trying to sleep!" Sock Fashion Expert yelled. No sooner had they gone out the door, but she began clanging dishes and playing music. Much later, Super Catman asked me for a banana before playing outdoors. He informed me that he and Artdog were pretending to battle Killer Gorillas. I feared picking up the Christmas Eve shift would upset the children, but they didn't seem to mind. They all pull together in such circumstances. What with Killer Gorillas and Robot Aliens in the backyard, my boys have more pressing issues to confront.
This afternoon, My husband and Moonbeam fell asleep on the basement swing near the wood stove. I got out for a quick hike. "What do you want me to do?" I asked, as I hiked over the crunchy frozen terrain. That still small voice assigned me one simple task, one I wasn't sure I could always muster. Upon returning home, I assigned the children their chores and gave Sock Fashion Expert some tips on planning tomorrows dinner. My husband drove me in to town. We made a quick stop at the grocery store. I put a silly sparkly Santa hat on Moonbeam, and it made the shoppers smile. I sported a furry Christmas bear sweater. Then I began my shift, as busy as could be. To each patient I greeted whether in smiles, tears or hugs. To each family member I came in contact with, I endeavored to impart that one small tug. To each co-worker I saw, to every child and adult, to each living soul I encountered, the assignment was the same. "What was that lone commission?" you may be wondering. It was to spread some Christmas cheer, because, after all, He came.
Here's to all you multitasking moms out there trying to keep it all together ;-)