11/27/2013 05:22 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Why Midlife Holidays Are Magical

A friend once said there is joy to be found once your kids no longer believe in the holiday "magic." This meant she could finally get the credit she deserved. It took me many years to appreciate this, but as the season descends into madness, I'm already celebrating my sanity.

It's November. I'm just putting the pumpkin up from Halloween. It's ceramic because I no longer have to scoop out that nasty pulp that feels and smells like snot from the real gourd. Yep, already the holidays with grown up kids = no messy make believe.

I'm not getting a letter in a book bag about an impending classroom Thanksgiving feast either. Years ago, my daughter's fourth grade teacher (in public school, no less) talked me into hauling my fine china to her classroom by saying, "I want these children to experience an elegant Thanksgiving dinner. If we just had someone willing to bring their nice dinnerware to our feast?"

In that instant it all became clear mom's indignation towards her mother-in-law every time my grandma needed someone to drive her to the grocery store.

I was the room parent so I became the someone. That teacher wouldn't ask a fourth grader to hold a newborn, but here I was expected to trust a nine-year-old to carry my Wedgwood? And damned if I didn't get talked into roasting a turkey big enough to feed thirty kids plus the parents who never showed up unless food was served.

So, read this and weep young moms.

Thanksgiving Day:

I will be drinking wine with my daughter while roasting Brussels sprouts with a balsamic glaze. She'll offer to set the table with the Wedgwood.

You will be screaming at your kids to go out and find some pine cones to throw on the table while you sweat over stuffing a twenty pound bird. You'll peel, mash, grate and whisk your way into a frenzy right before nuking a frozen bag of fish sticks to prevent your kids from beating you to a complete meltdown.

Black Friday:

I will be in my sweat pants clicking the "add to cart" button online at Sears after my son sends me the link to the tool he wants for Christmas.

You will be body slamming some granny for the last Nerf® N-Strike Blazin' Bow Blaster at the back end of a Walmart.


I won't have to drag my kids kicking and screaming to wait an hour so they can sit on some creepy old man's lap and talk to him -- making me out to be a complete liar about NEVER talking to strangers.

You will threaten to knock Santa's Helper into the winter wonderland if she tells you one more time to put your camera phone away. But, yes, you will end up paying $29.95 for six wallet-sized pictures and an 8 x 10 of your cranky kid and the ominous old man.

I will be out shopping for a sparkly sweater to wear to the neighborhood cocktail party where I will drink wine and eat delicious catered Mediterranean food. Someone will take photos to post on their Facebook page to show what a great time we adults have.

You will once again be at Walmart because you couldn't get enough on Black Friday. This time you will be loading up on glitter glue for the elf costume you must make for the holiday concert and a box of Nutter Butters for the after party. You will attempt to take pictures of your kid during the performance but he will be obscured by the PTA president's daughter who has the only solo. Sadly, though, your kid won't be eclipsed enough from the fact that he is picking glitter boogers out of his nose.


Holiday cards? Oh my God, please get me started:

You will realize that photographing your kids for the annual greeting is like bearing them through the birth canal. In the middle of it you will want to question why you ever thought this was a good idea.

I will take a photo of the dog wearing a Santa hat and call it a day.

Christmas Eve:

I will be drinking another glass of wine in front of a roaring fire and reminiscing about past holidays with my husband, son and daughter.

You will run out of tape around 3 AM resorting to using your glue gun or the leftover glitter glue to wrap the Blazin' Bow Blaster. You'll notice a slight dent in the Blaster box that will remind you that is where the old lady's head met your wrath on the way to the cash register.

Christmas Day:

I will be getting out of bed around 8:30. The smell of fresh coffee brewing, I will heat the breakfast casserole I had time to prepare the night before. My adult kids will dig in to the food and presents. We will joke and take our time. I will hear lots of "thanks mom."

After you've gotten ninety minutes of sleep your kids will come barreling into your bed at 6:30 AM demanding to start their day. Christmas will officially be over by 6:57 AM. Around 7:01 they will be asking, "what else did Santa bring me?"

Oh, but wait young mom, you will be experiencing the one thing I won't -- the magic of make believe. This lovely illusion is a gift held in your hands. Keep your eye on it, because it disappears before you are ready to let it go.

I'm now watching the transformation of my kids becoming wonderful young adults and appreciating my role in getting them there. This is a little bit of magic worth celebrating, too.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

What Do You Miss About Your Children Now That They're Adults?