There’s something about the holidays that are full of anticipation and excitement that is immediately followed by a grumpy post-holiday crash as I sort through the bags and bags of treats and cheap dollar store toys and the caseloads of sidewalk chalk that makes me shudder (because I wonder if it’s tainted with lead – we are keeping the crayola chalk and ditching the cheap dollar store stuff).
Even though most of my family respected our wishes for minimal amounts of candy and pointless stuffed animals, when you have a large family like I do (a set of grandparents, 3 adult siblings on my side, and an overly doting grandma and aunt who think more is well…more – and substitutes quantity for quality) and three children who receive gifts from a total of 7 sets of people if you include the Easter bunny. That’s a minimum of 21 items.
But it’s not just 21 items coming into the house. Because as you know those items are Easter baskets filled with even more items. And even though I’m extremely grateful many listened to us and gave the girls useful things – like hair accessories and flavored lip balm, little grow pots filled with sunflower seeds to plant, activity books and each daughter got a pretty summer t-shirt (wow, THAT was a terrific gift item) – it still adds up to A LOT of STUFF. My house is modestly sized (5 people in essentially 1100 square feet) and it’s hard to find spots to stash new things.
I haven’t yet figured out how to cure the panic I feel when faced with the daunting task of sorting to do after the holidays. I’m forced to sit with indelible ink in hand and label the treasures accordingly, because there’s no way in h-e-double toothpicks am I ever going to remember which items are whose.
On top of it, if I don’t get enough sleep (like I didn’t last night), my stress levels soar though I try to keep my post-holiday-grouchiness to a minimum. I did okay today, only screaming like a banshee once when daughter number 2 (my extremely sensitive one) comes barreling into a pile of things I was sorting. And even though I took the cheap dollar store bat one of the girls got and started pounding the floor with it in an immature act of irrationality, I found it didn’t break like I thought it would and would have to go out and replace.
Now that it’s mostly organized and I’ve calmed down, I can really start to focus on the fact that I am extremely blessed to have a family that cares so much about our girls (and yes, this more than makes up for the years of crap I put up with while living with my family – they turned out to be better as time and a little geographical distance has come between us) . Because in the end, it won’t be long before the dollar store toys get broken and tossed out, the candy disappears and I will think about my sister as we learn about the sunflower life cycle when we plant the seeds and remember WHY we celebrate Easter in the first place. I will soon forget the stressful aftermath and remember that I was able to make my very first lamb cake for the girls – a tradition I hope to continue.