A busy mom's weekend before Christmas
| It was the weekend before Christmas. Jeff conveniently had an “Employee Only Holiday Extravaganza” event to attend with his co-workers, leaving me alone with four kids, a dog, and a house that needed a lot of scrubbing, in preparation for Jeff’s parents visiting us on Christmas day.
I was desperately trying to take out a wet wipe from the dispenser, but something was blocking it. Jenny was squirming on the diaper change table and I was getting aggravated. I held Jenny’s tiny body with one hand, and opened the dispenser with my other hand and my chin. Jenny’s baby ring popped out of the opening. I picked it up with my toes, transferred it to my free hand and examined it. How did it get in there? I wondered, putting it in my pocket.
I was just finishing dressing Jenny up when Jamie Lynn barged in, sobbing.
“Mommy, they don’t want to play with me! They say I’m too little, and now I don’t have nothing to do!” She wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.
“Now, sweetie, I’m sure we can find something for you to do,” I said, carrying Jenny and leading Jamie Lynn into the family room, where Jonathan and Josie were avidly competing against each other on an intense video game.
“How about you make a puzzle?” I suggested to Jamie Lynn.
I sighed. “I wish I could, sweetheart, but I have tons of things to do today. Grandpa and Grandma are coming for Christmas, and I need to get the house ready.”
I put Jenny down in her play pen, and proceeded to sweep the floor. Jamie Lynn followed me around and related the latest stories she learned in kindergarten, followed by some songs and playground anecdotes. I listened halfheartedly. I was trying to determine whether I should bake the cookies first or finish cleaning, and I started wondering if I had enough items for the Christmas stockings.
“Mommy, are you listening?” Jamie Lynn said with a frown. She was standing on my freshly swept dust pile.
“Sorry, Jamie Lynn, I have a lot on my mind right now. How about you play with your play dough?”
“Would you like to take a bath?” I offered enthusiastically. “You can play with your bath toys as long as you want today.”
She nodded and ran to the bin where she kept her bath toys. I sighed. I knew I may have to mop the bathroom floor afterwards – one more thing to add to my already long list – but I would have traded anything just about now for a moment of peace.
As I was filling up the bath, Jamie Lynn dumped her whole bucket of toys in, splashing my glasses. I was wiping them dry when I saw something shiny floating in the bath. I put my glasses back on for a better look. It was Jamie Lynn’s dentist ring. I picked it up and placed it in my pocket. I wouldn’t want it to block the drain!
Now I had a good half hour of uninterrupted time. I sat down in my comfy chair and wrote a list of things to do. I checked off the first of fifteen items – sweep the floor. It made me feel better. Shadow hopped on me and started chewing my pen and scratching my arm. Jonathan was getting overexcited about his video game, and Josie was laughing, aggravating him even more. I sensed imminent action was needed.
“Why don’t you guys turn off the TV for a while and take Shadow out in the yard?”
After much grumbling and protesting, the TV was off, Shadow was out watering the trees, and Jonathan and Josie were kicking a soccer ball around.
Next on my list was cleaning up the kitchen counters. I usually just wiped around quickly, but knowing my in-laws were coming, I moved all the electric appliances on one side and did a deep cleaning. As I moved the coffee maker, I discovered Jonathan’s Ring of Power from his action game.
How in the world did this get under here? I wondered. I plunked it in my pocket to give to Jonathan later, and resumed scrubbing.
“Mommy, I’m finished!” Jamie Lynn called from the bathroom. After drying her up, and giving Jenny a bottle, and sponging the bathroom floor, and putting Jenny down for a nap, it was time for baking holiday cookies.
As I was assembling the ingredients, Jamie Lynn joined me in the kitchen. She dumped all the cookie cutters on the counter and started playing with them.
“Mommy, look what I found!” she exclaimed, holding up a small metal circle in her skinny fingers.
I grumbled under my breath. It was Josie’s ring, a present Jeff and I gave her on her twelfth birthday last month, and the first real ring she ever owned. When will she learn to take care of her things properly? I placed it in my pocket to remember to have a little talk with her later on.
The cookies were baked (and some of them magically disappeared), the house was relatively clean, and all children were either absorbed by a new holiday movie or sleeping in a crib. There was still one more thing to do: wrapping presents.
I sneaked in my bedroom and opened the closet. As I proceeded to wrap a stuffed giraffe, games, sweaters, a diary, a car model, and other trinkets, I couldn’t help thinking about Jeff having a great time while I was doing all the work. I sat on the bed, exhausted, and reached for my book of short stories for inspiration. Something fell on the floor, and a note floated down. I picked up the note. It said:
“Dear Janet, I wish I was with you today. I know how busy you must be cleaning the house, baking, and wrapping presents. Did you find the five golden rings I left for you (with the help of four other accomplices whose names start with a candy cane)? Your True Love, Jeff.”
On the side of the bed I retrieved what had fallen from the top of my book – a golden ring, adorned with five tiny diamonds. I placed it safely in my pocket with the other four rings and smiled.