Time To Make the Magic

Last night, my husband and I had our usual argument: who is more tired?  It started 11 1/2 years ago when we became parents, and it’s always the same.  Each of us is convinced that our current state of bone-crushing exhaustion could not possibly be topped by the other.  [The truth is, my hard-working-up-with-the-crows guy probably is more tired most of the time. Do NOT tell him I said that!]


But, not in December.  In December, I am the supreme reigning Queen of Fatigue.  In December, my mind and body do not rest.  If I am not shopping, baking, wrapping, writing, calling, partying, decorating, or concert-going, then I am laying awake thinking about all these things.  I don’t go completely crazy, but I do have this idea of what I want the holidays to look and feel like  for my family, and come hell or high tinsel, I make it happen.  It’s part of the fun for me, but it comes at a cost, which is paid for with yawns.

I find a lot of comfort in talking to other people who feel like they are “in charge of the magic,” as one friend puts it.  And recently I discovered a darling picture book, written by Ann Whitford Paul and illustrated by Nancy Hayashi, which is billed as “the perfect gift for hassled parents overwhelmed by the crazy-making business of Christmas.”


In the story, it is the evening of Christmas day, and the mom is facing the monumental task of cleaning up from the frenzy.  But not to worry, because soon…what to her wondering eyes should appear, but Mrs. Saint Nick!  Santa’s better half takes it upon herself to tackle the clutter, and even kvetches about having to clean up after her husband has all the fun.

It’s a silly, sweet read, meant for grown-ups (like Go the F**k to Sleepbut without the swears).  ‘Twas the Late Night of Christmas has some forced-feeling rhymes, but honestly, anything that makes me laugh about the heavy parenting load is a hit in my book.  Mrs. Saint Nick has even set up her own website to help you navigate the holiday and “count down to a stress-free Christmas.”

Now, since we are not likely to be as lucky as the mom in this story, it is time for my annual reminder to myself and to you (from a Zen scroll at a monastery in Japan):

There is nothing you must be

And there is nothing you must do

There is nothing you must learn

And there is really nothing you must become

But it helps to know that fire burns, and that when it rains, the ground gets wet

{Peace to you!}

3 thoughts on “Time To Make the Magic

  1. As always your words resonate. This time of year I expect my nearest and dearest to be in awe of my efforts (not!) and forgive the lousy mood that sometimes accompanies the glitter (never!). Thanks for sharing the new reads.

  2. Thanks for visiting – nice of you to stop by! Yes, it is so reassuring to know that everyone else is just muddling along, too. My favorite “tired mom” book is TUCKING MOMMY IN by Morag Oh, but I’m afraid it might be out of print (late 80s pub date? – got it at a library sale). The mom falls asleep during the bedtime routine – classic. I’m sure there is much rejoicing when your kids see you coming…the cavalry!!

  3. Ohhh, nice to discover you and your blog, thanks to Mike Allegra. I shall recommend these books to my daughter (mother of 3) and son (father of 3).Actually, I think I might just go buy those books to give them as gifts. Because they both always seem soooo tired. 🙂

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