Assembly Required

Tis the season to be weary…….When I think of how I spend the holidays, one word comes to mind….stress! This year my husband hinted that we should have my family for Christmas. I spent weeks planning, gathering needed items and cleaning my house. Preparing for company can be stressful and I was looking forward to when the last meal was out of the way and behind me.
When the evening was over I thought, “Now I can kick back and enjoy the holidays.” Yeah, right. There was still last minute Christmas Cards to send (I had forgotten my husband’s friends) and last minute gifts to buy.This year my four year old daughter, Nicole, had graduated from Fisher price to Barbie. My husband and I had bought her all her Barbie items: A house, a stable for her horse, nursery school, supermarket and pet store. I didn’t rally read the packages as we wrapped them on Christmas Eve. My husband, Norm, has this thing about only wrapping presents on Christmas Eve, so you can understand the added stress when he wrapped two and I was left with a mountain of presesnts to wrap.
Norm had to work the early shift Christmas morning and he decided that we would open presents that night after supper. Nicole was pretty good all morning about the presents. When my husband came home, she was quite eager to open them, but was forced to use more patience to wait till after we ate. Norm, who is also a volunteer firefighter, got a call and poor Nicole was forced to wait longer. I felt sorry for her and allowed her to open two presents. Upon Norm’s return we ate and opened gifts. It was only then that I finally started to realize what was ahead for me. Nicole, who had no nap, was to have gone to bed at 7:30. She was quite eager to have everything assembled immediately. Norm preferred that I do that since it was his habit to assemble first and read directions later. I started the house first which wasn’t too difficult. Then I tackled the stable where the directions were slightly more confusing. At 8:30 Norm stuck a video in for Nicole while I started the grocery store. Till then I was tired because I had been awake since 5:15. The store shelves which were largely cardboard began to grate on my nerves as they kept falling apart inmy hands. I could either be heard screaming or murmuring about the woes of cardboard under my breath. Finally at 10:00 I decided to finish the other two in the morning and put Nicole to bed. I still had not even looked at my own presents.
As I hit the shower I thought that surely Nicole would sleep in till at least 8:00 in the morning. WRONG! Nicole was routing me from my bed at 6:30 to assemble her school and pet store. I got up but decided to assemble my new portable phone first and then begun her projects. This time i was going to be smart and use glue. At 9:00 I was finally finished. I cleaned up and sat down on the recliner to relax with the directions to my new curling iron.”Mom, can I have pancakes?”
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