It sounded like it would be the perfect holiday. I took the week before Christmas off for vacation. I figured it would be nice to visit with my sister that whole week and it would keep Maxwell healthy for Christmas since he wouldn't have to be in daycare all week. That poor kid has been nothing but sick since starting 2 months ago.
Things went according to plan until about Thursday. Kalin, my sister, and her husband Peter arrived on Monday and we had a great start to the holiday week. We went to see dinner and a movie, laughed a lot, and the kids enjoyed meeting their 2 dogs. Thursday morning Maxwell had his 18 month doctor appointment. He woke up with a fever so I thought, great. But at least I was going to the doctors anyway. After getting him home from the doctors, I started to feel not that great myself. And of course, not only was Maxwell sick with some virus, but then I got the stomach bug. So that was the start. Maxwell got worse and worse. The sleepless nights and screaming cries all day told me that he was getting another ear infection. At 1:00 pm on Christmas Eve, 2 hours before our dinner reservations, I brought Maxwell to urgent care. Luckily we were in and out and they told us that he didn't quite have an ear infection but that they just looked red. I wasn't confident in this answer and I really didn't feel that the doctor even did a good job at looking him over. Especially since he was already on antibiotics from his prior ear infection. My instinct told me that he had an ear infection or that something else was going on. We made it in time for dinner and surprisingly Maxwell ate and was well-behaved for the whole meal. The caroling was the best part of the holiday. The weather was perfect. Although Maxwell was not really feeling great, he was a trooper and held it together for most of the caroling. He was happiest to see the lights on all the houses that we stopped to sing at. The families faces as they came out to watch us sing was the best part! Everyone agreed that we need to make it a tradition and do it every year.
After that we came back to our house and had drinks and more desserts. I didn't eat or drink much of anything since I was still recouping from the bug I had. Maxwell went to bed but was up every hour for most of the evening/night since he was so sick. It wasn't how I envisioned Christmas Eve at all. Ty and I cleaned up and helped Santa prep. It was a very long night of sitting up with a very inconsolable Maxwell. Scarlett woke up early excited to see if Santa had come. We all went downstairs together and the kids were both over the moon with the gifts that were stuffed under the tree. Even Maxwell, who was still feeling horrible, tried with all his might to open his gifts and take in all of the joy that Christmas morning is. Those moments that morning were all that mattered to me. I wanted to see their eyes light up and the happiness fill them as they played with their new toys. And they did.
Maxwell barely made it through his gifts. It was easy to see that he was miserable. The poking at his ear and crying even when he was on Tylenol/Motrin reassured me that I needed to take him back to the doctor. I didn't want to put him through another night of misery if I didn't have to. So on Christmas day, we headed to the Emergency Room. And we left with the confirmation that he did indeed have an ear infection. Just as I predicted the day before. Christmas dinner was supposed to be at my other sister's house but after she informed us that now her husband then had the stomach bug, we decided to stop at the Chinese place and grab some food for us and the guests at our house. When we pulled up to a completely dark Chinese Restaurant, we knew that we would have to go home and search the cupboards for something instead. And we did just that.
Out of all the excitement that went on over the Holiday week, the most enjoyable was when Maxwell and Scarlett played with their toys that evening. Maxwell had a bit of a second wind and was happy playing trains. We sat on the couch and watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. My mom and step-father joined in on the classic that we've seen more times than we can count. It never gets old. The next morning, Maxwell still wasn't better....and so the holiday didn't roll out how I envisioned. It was a lot of consoling Maxwell and praying that he would be better. A lot of trying to make everything go as planned and watching it unravel anyway. Overall, it was kind of a doozy of a holiday. But I learned something this year. No matter how we prep and plan, or how we try to make things go how we want them to, sometimes we just aren't in control. And the more time we waste trying to control things, the less time we spend enjoying moments. For instance, when I was sick with the stomach bug...I laid in my bed feeling like death. My sweet Scarlett came in and asked, "Mama, can I do something to make you feel better?" I shook my head, "No thank-you. I just need to rest. You can go visit with everyone downstairs if you want to." And she could have done just that. But instead, she brought me toast with jelly. She read me a story and after I closed my eyes to sleep, she cuddled next to me. It was in those sickly moments that I thought about what really mattered. It didn't matter much if the kids woke up to gifts under the tree or if my Hot Cocoa Bar looked like perfection (which it didn't- I barely had time to put it together). Although I do consider those things important, ha ha, I know that the real stuff was that sick evening, with Scarlett there beside me, comforting me as we drifted to sleep watching Elf. Or the fact that even though Maxwell was sick, in a few days he would be better. Something that some families would give anything for. There are sick babies out there that won't get better in a few days. Children with serious health issues. Children that are fighting for their life.... and so I am thankful for a crumby, fallen-apart Christmas that didn't go as I planned. Because I know that my crappy Christmas is a dream to others and I've learned something else this holiday that I will carry with me now through life. Enjoy those little unplanned moments that you didn't even see coming. THOSE are the ones that touch you in a way that you didn't expect and almost always are the most important ones.
Laying next to Scarlett as I felt like death. Watching Christmas movies and hearing her say, "Don't worry, I'll take care of you Mama." Laying on the couch with Ty in the wee hours of the night feeling like we don't want to get up because we are so completely exhausted from putting Christmas together, but still wrapping our arms around each other anyway. Rocking a sick Maxwell at 3 am because I'm the ONLY one that can comfort him. Singing a carol to some neighbors who applauded as if we were their favorite music artist. The joy on their children's faces as they listened to us sing. Laughing with my sister as we make thee stupidest snap chat videos. Eating a meal that we threw together last minute because dinner was cancelled but still enjoying it because we were with family. Waking up on Christmas Eve to the loveliest snowfall ever! Watching Maxwell and Scarlett play with all of the toys that we are so fortunate to be able to give them. Sipping on Mimosas as everyone stares in wonder at a silly egg that will soon hatch a toy. Ha.
Happy Holidays everyone....I hope you enjoyed all of the little moments.