December: Panic, plague and party pandemonium

Ah, December. I have hit the panic button on shopping; our kids have begun their second round of winter colds, stomach bugs, and dry skin rashes; and family gatherings have increased in both frequency and chaos level. How I love the holiday season! No kidding, I really do enjoy the crazy. Here’s why.

The race to find the perfect gift, while strategically avoiding traffic congestion and financial ruin, is what I live for. After all, I’m able to employ my significant cyber skills, people-whispering talents, and penny-pinching nature to their maximum capacities, all in the name of Santa Claus.  Essentially, December’s a green light for shopping, and because I’m not spending the money on myself, the experience is practically guilt-free. And when the stress of it all becomes too overwhelming, I have egg nog and Pickleknuckle (our elf-on-the-shelf) to talk me off the ledge.  Deck the halls with booze and fantasy creatures!

Granted, December does have the uncanny ability to transform our house into an infirmary. But alongside the thermometers, discarded Kleenex, and empty bottles of ginger ale, Children’s Motrin and Jergen’s bottles, there are twinkle lights and garland and multi-colored breakable glass bulbs. At least when I’m cleaning up my daughter’s vomit from the sink (which is “much closer than the toilet, Mom. You should be thankful I made it that far!”) I can breathe in that pine-fresh scent from the evergreen sprig I shoved into a lamp base and garner sympathy from the plastic angel hovering above me. Silent night, indeed.

Most importantly, December affords me the opportunity to appreciate just how far our six-pack has come over the years. I have four siblings, Doo has five. Between our families, there are 26 grandkids, most of whom are six and under. You don’t have to be a math geek to understand that get-togethers are sheer bedlam. But now that our children are older, Doo and I can sit back and mock those with little ones, occasionally pitching in to change a diaper or wipe a face, but only if the spirit so moves us. We actually get to eat a full meal at one sitting while the food is still hot and engage in adult conversation about the awesome-ness of the “Twilight” saga without worrying about bedtimes and bottles and boo-boos. Let’s face it, holidays are a schlep with infants and toddlers, but they are truly fun with big kids. God rest ye merry parents!

So bring it on, December.  I welcome your inclement weather, sherry-infused fruit cake, and incessant junk emails from retailers. And despite your propensity for inducing panic, plague, and party pandemonium, you are by far the most wonderful time of the year. Peace out.

Danielle Wilson

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the same year Dick Nixon was elected. Along with my twin sister and three younger sisters, I attended Catholic schools for thirteen years. (Holy Mother, pray for me.) I spent two years as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado until I wised up and transferred to a more normal school, Indiana University, where I received a B.A. in history and a teaching license just for funsies. In 2001, I officially entered the ranks of stay-at-home moms to care for my two-year old son and newborn twins. I have mentally blocked all of 2002 and most of 2003. In 2004, I received a Master’s degree in U.S. History from I.U.P.U.I. and a fourth child from my should-have-had-that-vasectomy-sooner husband. From 2005 until mid-2010, I played Super Mom in the yet-to-be released indie film "Provide Daycare for Your Sister-in-Law's Children Because You Don't Have Enough to Do Already." I returned to teaching this fall at an undisclosed Indianapolis school where thankfully very few parents know who I am. I am considering developing a bad habit.

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