Things have slowed down here. One brother digs in another brother's undies drawer for a clean pair after scavenging both his drawer and the baskets in the laundry room and coming up empty-handed. Needles from the thirsty Christmas tree litter the floor, scattering them throughout the house as four sets of feet tramp through them daily. Empty cupboards grow barer, the essentials that are usually well stocked dwindling down to none. The cat meows, reminding everyone that the bottom of her food dish is visible and the waste to fresh litter ratio in her cat box is not to her standards. Tiny pieces to new toys sit disassembled. A bundle of forgotten mail piles up, half the stack opened, the rest left till later. Snow gear is flung throughout the house in disarray--a glove shoved in the nook behind the basket, a boot under the Christmas tree, snow pants draped over a chair to dry, hats hastily left behind. Schedules are more of a guideline right now, for this week only, as we wade through the holiday.
Eventually things will pick up again. The laundry washed, folded, and put away. The Christmas decorations stored for next year. The cupboards restocked. The mail tended to. The snow gear in its rightful place. And schedules will be more strictly followed. But for these handful of days remaining before Dave goes back to work and the boys back to school, we will wallow in this land of in between, where we're barely functioning but definitely living.
There's something about the holidays that makes us want to hit the pause button on life. We see the mess but tend to ignore it, opting instead to be Robin to our four-year-old's Batman or build an exact replica of the castle on the magnatile box with our six-year-old or spend a ghastly amount of time trying to make our baby smile just one more time. By the week's end, we'll be done. The list of stuff ignored will haunt us enough to propel us into action, the coming week looming before us when we must return to the land of the living. But who needs clean underwear and a house free of sparkly green and red decorations and cupboards full of food and tightly followed schedules when you can instead wear jammies every day and eat cereal for every meal and plug in the Christmas lights and pretend for a just a smidge longer that it is still Christmas? Apparently, not us. For now, anyway.
Our December has whooshed by in a gust of festive fun. Family get-togethers. School functions. Santa visits. Tree-cutting outings. Christmas lights. Presents. Cookies. Games. Cheesy Hallmark movies. Christmas carols sung off-key. Santa hats and reindeer antlers. Church programs with our four-year-old's debut and a certain new baby as the stand-in baby Jesus. It's been a good month, a perfect end to the year 2015. I'm not quite certain what the new year brings, but I do know we will end it in much the same fashion as we did this year. (The kids will just be a wee bit bigger.)