A few years ago a friend of mine told me that her mom described Christmas as an “Anti-Women Holiday.” I was aghast and viewed it as cynical and contrary to the spirit of the season. AND then, as my kids and I grew older, my obligations increased, and time became less, I became honest with myself and admitted: It is all I can do, as a working mom, to juggle the balls I juggle day in and day out, and then, this time of year comes around and more balls than I can seem to juggle are thrown into the mix.
So, now, I use those words, “the Anti-Women Holiday” as my mantra, always and often, to those I trust (and to those who piss me off) this time of year!
I also confess that I have resorted to on-line shopping, at the expense, I know, of hardworking local retailers. However, even that isn’t stress free. I learned yesterday (just four days before Christmas) that the top three items on my 9 year-old daughter’s list never left the shipping dock at the American Girl Doll warehouse. I found out an hour after the deadline for shipping in time for Christmas, unless, however, I could wait until 7:00 p.m. at my office on Christmas Eve for the package to arrive.
My first instinct, of course, was to drive to the American Girl Doll store in Chicago, buy the stuff myself, and drive home. In good weather conditions and non-rush hour, I could do that, from Milwaukee, in 4 hours. Yesterday, the opposite was true. Slush was pouring from the sky faster than my windshield wipers could clear the view and, while filling my gas tank just 10 miles down the road, from somewhere and somehow, sanity came over me. I got in my car and drove back to my office. Oh, yes, I am still going to go, but I will go Sunday morning and be there at 9:00 AM when the store opens and will be back to my house at noon, in time to watch the Packer game. I do, after all, have to keep my priorities straight!
ALL THIS IS TO SAY, while I had it in my mind to send a nice, handwritten note, on a nice store bought card, I am sending this on this plain white paper because that’s all I got right now. The benefit to you is that this is at least legible as my handwriting at this point would only reflect my frantic pace, driven by the knowledge, thanks to the app my daughter downloaded on my phone, that Santa will be here “3 sleeps, 13 hours, 20 minutes and 15 seconds.” (Isn’t there some rule out there that all bets are off when a kid turns 10 and, by inadvertence or intent learns, Santa does not exist!!)
UPDATE: Lisa, who is a dear friend of Women You Should Know, sent this letter to us on December 21, 2012. We can now happily report that she did make it to the American Girl Doll store in Chicago and “saved” Jamie’s Christmas! She left Milwaukee at 7:00 AM and was home by 11:30 AM in time to watch her beloved Packers. Lisa’s Super Mom cape is currently at the dry cleaner being prepped for her next adventure.
So yes, Virginia… while there is a Santa Claus, you should also know that it’s busy, hard working women and moms like Lisa who make the real holiday magic happen, especially when retailers/shippers screw up… which they so often do.
About Lisa C. Paul:
Lisa is currently a civil litigation attorney in Milwaukee, where she lives with her husband, Ross Puppe; their two daughters, Catherine and Jamie; and their dog Rascal.
She is also the author of the memoir Swimming In The Daylight, a moving story of true friendship and a profound lesson in fighting for what you believe in… even amid an ocean of darkness and despair.