I’m a firm believer in not stressing about Christmas cards. If it happens it happens, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. You just can’t cram everything into the end of the year.
Yes, everybody would love a recent photo (or illustration!) of your family but if it means tearing your hair out trying to get the family together all at one time and smiling and you end up feeling more Grinchish than Christmasish, then it’s just not worth it, right? You just gotta give up and give in some years. You can’t win them all.
This year I thought it would be nice if Bug and I had a photo together but I didn’t have my hopes up. It’s been harder and harder to take photos of myself that I actually like. Bug always looks like a million bucks but me, I’m kinda scary sometimes.
I used to take photos of us together every day that I liked. Now, I’m lucky if I get one a month. I think the last photo that I liked of myself was at Halloween and I was wearing green makeup. That’s not really going to work for a Christmas card.
The last time I was down in San Diego visiting Bethany I asked her if she could snap a few of us and then I promptly forgot about it. I thought we’d get a photo by a Christmas tree when we were visiting Old Town but it didn’t happen. It was late when we were there and the kids were squirrely. It just didn’t happen.
But then right before we were about to leave, the sun was shining in Bethany’s backyard in that really pretty way and Bethany said, let’s just take a few photos and see if one comes out. I didn’t brush my hair, we didn’t put on any special outfits. We just went outside, sat on her wood steps and wham, bam, thank you ma’am. Bethany took six shots. I glanced at them briefly on the back of her camera and we were done.
Merry Christmas! We have a winner!
It’s funny. I know it’s a good picture. I love the light. Bethany is a great photographer. I just hate my hair. It’s like I’ve never seen a brush or a blow dryer in my life. I was fretting over it for days. I kept asking Bug if she thought it was a good picture when finally Bug just stopped me and looked me in the eye and said, “Mom, it’s a good photo. You look really really beautiful. I mean it.”
And then I believed her because if anything, she is brutally honest with me. She’s the one who tells me that I have a great big bongo butt and bad breath and that my outfits are dorky. So if she thinks I look beautiful with ratty tatty hair, then I must.
Every year when I get around to making Christmas cards (and even on those years that I don’t) I start thinking up what kind of crazy birthday party I can throw for Bug. She’s totally spoiled but it is what I do. I like themed parties and I cannot lie.
This year Bug has requested a black cat theme. No surprise there. She’s only worn her homemade black felt cat ears for what? Six months straight now? Her teacher finally asked her to phase them out at school (they were a distraction to the other kids) which is fine but her love of being a black cat has not waned at all.
In fact she would like you all to call her Onyx now, not Bug. I told her good luck. She’s stuck with Bug until the end of time. But from time to time I do humor her and call her Onyx. Maybe on her birthday we’ll sing to Onyx and and ice Onyx on the cake. I can humor her on her birthday.
I’m super excited about the theme. We can make cat toys. We can eat food that look like cat treats. Kibble? Dead mice? The possibilities are endless. We can have cat games. Maybe I’ll pick up some of those little laser beam flashlights. It’s going to be fun.
You know what is not fun though? Trying to figure out a venue because you live in a small apartment with a white rug and you have an aversion to cake being ground into it. I’ve gone round and round with this like a puzzle piece in my brain that just won’t fit. Bug wants to invite her whole class this year and I just don’t know. She has some crazy kids in her class. There is no way I could contain them in my apartment. So I found a nearby park and then I started inquiring about bounce houses. To me bounce houses are the answer to all crazy kid problems of the world. Let them jump it out.
Little did I know this was not meant to be. The city I live in is very beautiful. The way they keep it that beautiful is by micro-managing it with an iron fist and many many many bureaucratic rules. It’s insane. First you have to fill out an application to put up a bounce house at the park 30 days in advance. Then you have to use their approved list vendors to order your bounce house. (I actually have no problem with that. It’s very thoughtful of them to help me narrow down my search.) Then you pay $33 an hour to reserve your space and $30 for an application fee. Then you add your bounce house cost, a generator and you pretty much get out the door spending five hundred bucks. I’m so not kidding. That does not include food or any fancy invitation. It’s like it’s a wedding.
I usually go all out for birthday parties, as you know, but I am NOT going to spend that much. That’s just stupid.
But that leaves me with a passel of crazy kids at the park that I might have to supervise. Can I do that? I want to invite her teacher too but will it be like another day at the playground? Should I buy a whistle? This scares me. I’ve never had a party at a park before. What about all the last minute details? I don’t want to be that crazy person driving back and forth (or yelling at someone else to drive back and forth) between my house and the park because I forgot 47 different things. You know how I am about details. The details have to be just right!
Think. Think. Think. Stupid puzzle piece!
I think my solution will be lots of activities. We’ll wrangle the kids into all kinds of different stations of fun. Relay races, crafts, a piñata in the shape of a giant cat toy, face painting! It’ll be crazy. I better enlist a lot of grown-up friends to help me out on this one. I’m gonna need it.