Now that the holidays are behind us, I paused to reflect on things that had happened. This is not unlike a CEO rehashing an important presentation to a prospective client — to see what worked, what didn’t, how things could be improved, the overall experience enhanced. Of course, when you’re dealing with our family and many diverse activities, timetables, and peripheral plans that can change on a dime, the problem becomes one even a talented mathematician couldn’t fix. I am not that talented genius. I am simply The Mom. And this was more like herding cats — cantankerous, put-upon, tired, sick cats.
All things considered, though, we came through Christmas relatively unscathed and actually had one of our best holidays ever. The usual fly in the ointment, and this year did not disappoint, was illness. It is usually Gill. She traditionally brings with her The Cough/Cold, the one everyone gets when flying to or from England, and this year was no different — except for the timing. Her malady usually comes on two days into the holidays and lasts until just before she flies back. This year, it arrived in the door with her luggage. Despite her illness (or as she called it The Death Watch), she rallied and was able to be perky and participate in most of the high target events.
I had planned (I say ‘planned’ for lack of a better word) four dinners. This is not an unheard of context for someone accustomed to cooking and planning appealing and diverse festive meals on a regular basis. But persistent readers will recall that I have pretty much lost the will to cook (especially for myself) and haven’t done much of what one would term ‘entertaining’ for years. Looking after and feeding my three Boomerang children off and on for years was not entertaining (except in the sense that they had me laughing hysterically much of the time)…it was our version of “Survival” and I was damned if I’d be the one voted off the island. I had my pride to consider.
Since I’m back to living alone, this newfound social whirl was truly worthy of note. I thought about menus, taking into account the vegetarians, people with allergies, Gill’s Crohn’s and delicate colon, food likes and dislikes. I knew, for example, liver and kale would never be the entree for any dinner…mainly ’cause I loathe both foods and since I was in charge, I WIN! But I did come up with an inspiring array of meals — one Indian, one Italian, one Mexican, and the big turkey dinner.
I had laid out these plans carefully with the family. Emails were sent, phone calls made, times made very specific. That was my first mistake. And it didn’t take long for things to go awry. Crazy D emailed me the day he was picking Gill up from airport. “Are we supposed to be having dinner together tonight? I thought we decided she’d be too tired…”
I replied: “Do you never read your emails, child? I sent one days ago asking if you would stay for dinner since you’d already be here and that The Girlfriend was more than welcome. And could you bring samosas?” Sigh…
Good thing The Girlfriend is in charge of his personal life now. She sorted things out and everyone arrived — including the samosas.
The following day was another dinner — this one bigger, with more guests involved and neighbors coming for drinks before dinner. We would be eating later than usual since L’il Sis had to work late, rush home to retrieve The Pig (her beagle), and drive here. It has probably become obvious by now that we never party without The Pig. What would be the point?
I began to get nervous when I checked Facebook early in the day and noticed that Crazy D had put a tag up that he was hoping to attend an event in Stratford that evening — one that started at 7. Let me just say I was curious as to how he could arrive here to schmooze, eat dinner (which wouldn’t be starting until at least 7:30) and still see this concert. I suspect my children liked it much better when I wasn’t on and couldn’t figure out FB. Ah, modern technology — occasionally it works in a mother’s favor. Don’t tell me a little judicious snooping doesn’t pay!
At any rate, he and The Girlfriend appeared on time and we had a lovely time. I hadn’t said anything…perhaps The Universe helped a poor mother out. I don’t know how, don’t want to know why, I just want things to work.
And I can’t forget the biggest Christmas confusion.
On Christmas morning, Crazy D called from The Girlfriend’s brother’s place where they had spent Christmas Eve:”So what is the plan for today again?”
“You’re kidding, right?!!”
Gritting my teeth, I replied: “I told you we’re on a tight schedule today. Gill, L’il Sis and I will have breakfast together (the special coffee cake I always make that he especially loves but wouldn’t be here to eat), walk The Pig and wait for you two to show up — preferably no later than noon since L’il Sis is due at Other Brother’s parents’ home by p.m. for the usual gargantuan Italian meal. We have a small window during which to exchange gifts and then our dinner will be at 6. After we eat, we’re going around the corner to have a drink with The Man In My Life, his ex and their son, your former childhood friend. (This isn’t as “Days Of Our Lives” as might appear at first blush.) Then and only then are we allowed to collapse in a heap. Got that?”
What could he say?
The day was a masterful day of engineering and scheduling, if I do say so myself. And I do. A mother has to take credit when she can. All in all, I think my multi-asking, communications skills, and crisis management abilities are up to those of any top notch CEO.