And everyone in my immediate geographic vicinity. All day we have been saying we feel like we are back in Thailand during the monsoon, it is so hot and humid and then suddenly so very very wet.
All this talk of tetris jammin' has really infiltrated my brain (so many great comments! Thank you all!!) and I can't help but see the rain running down the walls (inside and out - I'm so lucky) as further confirmation that there isn't a moment's peace to be had in this game of life. So much for the peace on earth we're supposed to get in touch with about now.
And I'm not feeling nearly as grinchy as I usually do - I seem to recall that it was after posting something about this time last year was when I started getting comments about my very slim chances of making it into heaven with an attitude like that and other dire warnings about my failure to heed the message of Christ.
I mean, I don't classify myself as a Christian so despite my deep respect for many of the great things done by Christians and the various institutions based on Christian beliefs, it should surprise no one (especially me) that Christmas is not a really important date in my spiritual calendar.
But I am really aware this year that Christmas is for me, like so very many others, a time when the heavens open and the jobs and responsibilities and conflicts and emotional turmoils just bucket down. So busy trying to make it nice that there is no time left for living it nice.
And this year has been relatively light on for me in the Christmas sense. Aside from the handmade pledge (not 100% kept, but mostly!) and a little performance anxiety over dessert for the big day and hosting a birthday celebration for my sister on the 24th (who feels really cheated by her birth date and I understand why), I've been spared the stress of doing two whole separate family celebrations in one day (three if you count me, D and the kids as a separate family), I've accepted without guilt that I haven't and won't get around to cards again this year, I've not done anyone else's present shopping, not offered to host a Christmas meal, I'm not trying to get away on holiday five minutes after the last dish is washed on boxing day and on one in my family, thus far, has had a total emotional breakdown.
But I am feeling the reverberations of those around me who are pained and there is a part of me just waiting for everything to start falling apart. For someone close to me to get offended or feel slighted. For me to suddenly remember something really big and important that I forgot. Deadlines to blow, souffles to flop (metaphorically - I'm not that stupid), past sadnesses to revisit, to realise I forgot to get dressed when leaving the house. Hang on, that last one was just a dream I think.
And it doesn't make it any less busy that it isn't Christmas per se. I am battling a number of work deadlines over the next three weeks just as everyone else is winding down or, more accurately coming to a dead halt. I know I should be across this by now, but I suddenly realise that I have two kids and no kinder or childcare for the next, um, five weeks. And also (man, I should pay more attention) a half finished house extension that requires a significant amount of D's attention.
There's been a return of evil shouting not coping mummy. Not entirely unprovoked I might add. Amy is handling Christmas and the major upheaval of finishing her baby life in preparation for entering school next year and two graduations and two Christmas concerts and last everythings by channeling some very bad dudes. Especially at just the moment I am getting Wil to sleep. She is manic, hungry for attention, cranky, lonely, over-excited, high on sugar and really fucking loud and messy.
So you know, it would help if I yelled at her.
So here is what I have been thinking about all this stuff. I'm still going with this tetris analogy. Sometimes, when the pace of the game speeds up and the adrenaline kicks in and we start slotting more and more into place, we get a big pay off for just being in motion. The pay off isn't just the stuff we do - the beautiful food we make, the gifts we give, the wishes we wish, the parties we attend, the cards we write, the people we help - it is winning the game.
Every ball we do not drop, every extra handmade thing we don't buy, every thing we remember that we might have forgotten, every person's even keel we manage to maintain, every cobweb we sweep, every load of washing we fold and put away, every extra unit we jam into the day. This may well be the high we are pursuing. We may well be the domestic equivalents of the corporate adrenaline junkies, the extreme sport crazies.
Why have one job, when you can have three? Why knit one project when you can queue 20 on Ravellry? Why just write Christmas cards if you can make them? Why cook food when you can prepare a degustation menu?
And each one of those things is a worth while thing. I don't intend to give up making gifts, or knitting, or sewing or interesting opportunities for work. I want to try new and interesting recipes and eat great food. But is so easy to forget, to lose perspective, to enjoy the stress and drama a little too much. And then collapse, spent, and leave a terrible mess in our wake.
I didn't take this photo. I didn't take this photo because I was inside, desperately writing a crochet pattern whilst trying to bake cookies and hang out washing and finish knitting a scarf. I was chasing the elusive full row of high density units in my little game of tetris while Amy was outside photoing (as she calls it). Looking at her feet in the grass.