The Covid-shutdown shuffled around our income. In the transition, we find my husband now working most holiday mornings. It was not a change I would have lobbied for.
You see, I am an extrovert, and as an extrovert, I crave conversation, discussion, a rational witness to the work I am undergoing, a companion on the journey. When I am excited, I am elated. Along with being an extrovert, I have a choleric temperament, meaning, in familiar words, I am dramatic. When disappointment comes, I am crestfallen.
We have our traditions for Thanksgiving, the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. Shoot, even Saturdays in winter now have traditions attached to them. Each tradition accentuates the rhythm in the lives of my children, giving them something to look forward to and a memory to hold onto.
“Remember how daddy always built a fire on cold Saturday mornings?”
“Remember how we always watched Miracle on 34th Street on Thanksgiving?”
I want to make sure they have plenty of “remember when’s.”
Things are fun. They are festive.
What happens to the extrovert whose festival day now includes a morning of normalcy, not festivity, when the husband is at work and the wife is home with the children who have not yet learned to gratify the needs of the extrovert, being themselves so demanding?
A spirit of festivity is a choice.
It does not require perfection.
It does not require a crowd.
The festival exists whether or not we participate in it. Why not choose to participate?
We can choose to allow each day to be just one more day, another day of diapers, dishwashing, laundry folding, earning the bread, taking out the garbage. Or we can access an internal locus of control, believing in our efficacy in a situation, and choose to make this day something special, something that aligns with what it actually is.
So stop working, start celebrating.
Even if my husband is gone for a few hours, bringing home the bacon, I need to stop cleaning and start being.
Rather than taking advantage of the extra time, as if the festival had not started yet, I need to access the traditions and do them in a new way, reapplying the trial and error that cemented them as our traditions and find a new and adjusted routine.
We should plan ahead to free up the busiest hands on that day. It is not festive if the mother is slugging away at the dishes while everyone else relaxes.
Limit television and screen time, stay off social media. In fact, eliminate any technology that is not communal – so if you like a Wii game – do it as a group with spectators (not everyone has to play but be present), if you watch TV, do it as a group, the exception the rule being the posting of a few Instagram pictures because those communal pajamas look sharp.
When the heads of the house choose to be festive, the rest will fall under the spell.
Our kids usually need a pep talk the day before to remind them not to lose it in the afternoon when their excitement has exhausted them. Knowing I will not be able to fully unleash the power of my extroversion until later in the morning, I probably need a pep talk too.
Take photos in the morning when the kids (and everyone) is more excited.
Clean the day before, or let it go entirely. Festivity is not about perfection.
Drinking might feel like keeping spirits bright, but if you get so sloppy that you can’t dance at the end of the night.
2020 is a drag.