Considering the rocky start on the morning of the 24th, amazingly enough, Christmas eve/day went really, really well.
Wednesday morning found me shuffling about the house in absolute misery and panic. Some kind of horrible depression took over me, I felt completely defeated in the face of the holiday, tired, worn out, overwhelmed. I was convinced I was going to screw the whole thing up and my kids would forever remember this as The Christmas Mom Wigged Out. Brian went ahead to the ranch and I started gathering things together to go as well. I had to pick the big boys up at their dad's house on the way out there, but the baby was with me.
Got the car loaded up, scooped up the baby and a couple of bags and headed out the door...where I promptly lost my footing and fell forward onto the concrete. Some kind of superhero parenting instinct kicked in and I managed to get my hand underneath the baby's head and keep it from slamming into the concrete. He was crying but mostly from the shock. I picked us up and dusted us off, went on over to the car where I promptly fell again, in much the same way, this time letting the baby pretty much fall into the grass. It was one of those slow motion falls where you can see it all happening and you are powerless to stop it. This fall really got me good, and I sat there for a minute, holding the baby, him crying, me crying, not sure if I could stand up, not a neighbor in sight. Finally pulled myself up off the ground and got the baby into the car seat, and myself into the driver's seat. I was in excruciating pain at this point, having pulled every groin muscle there is. Called the ex and told him I was on my way.
Pulling out of the development and onto the main road we drove a few blocks and then I saw, right in front of me, a dead tabby cat in the road. The markings looked very much like my cat Buda, and with a sickening feeling I pulled the car around and went back to check. Got out and crossed the road to have a look, and it was Buda, lying there. She must have just been hit. Her body was still warm. I was of course completely beside myself in tears. Some nice ladies pulled over and tried to help me out. I scooped her up in a dish towel and they lent me a plastic bag to put underneath her. I drove back home to get a box or something so I could carry her out to the ranch and buried her. Called Brian in tears on the cell phone. Pulled into the driveway, stepped out of the car and saw Buda's littermate coming up the drive. Neither she nor the dog had seemed particularly interested in this dead cat I was holding, which I thought was odd. Went inside to get a plastic bag and coming back out and around the car I looked down and saw...
Very much alive.
I looked at the dead cat in my arms, looked at Buda down there in the driveway, and felt like the world's biggest idiot.
So there I was, with a dead cat. I felt kind of sheepish taking her back to the side of the road (what must those nice ladies be thinking about me now?) but I didn't know what else to do with her. Left the poor cat there to be found, I hope, by her rightful owner, and drove up to pick up the boys.
At this point, it should be said, that the pain was so bad I could hardly see straight. The boys and I headed straight out for the ranch. We needed to stop for food and wrapping paper so I managed to get us to a grocery store where we proceeded to v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y shop for some basics to get us through the next couple of days. I was in complete agony. Somehow I managed to get us all through that ordeal, back to the car, stop for some fast food, and out to the ranch. Where I collapsed.
Brian took the boys out "tree hunting" and came back with a lovely cedar tree. It's nothing like a typical Chrismas tree, it's all light and air instead of dense and sturdy. And it looked beautiful with our lights and ornaments on it. I mostly sat and watched but couldn't bear to be so left out so I got up for a bit and did some tree trimming. Trimming the tree on Christmas Eve may be one of my favorite activities. Brian begged some food off of his aunt and we had a pretty meager meal of chicken and beans, but it was better than nothing. We hung up the stockings on the wood stove, left out some chocolate chip cookies and spiked egg nog for Santa (we know what Santa likes), and the kids went promptly to bed, no doubt with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads.
Maybe that's enough for one entry. I had less pain on Christmas day, and even less today. Everyone is still sick, I am still borderline depressed, but the boys had a fantastic Christmas, which was what really mattered most to me. They were very pleased with their presents, and didn't seem to feel remotely deprived, which was my greatest fear. And it was lovely to spend our first full Christmas out at the ranch, the first of many.
Happy Holidays to all of you.