Okay, so I've embraced it: This Chrismas sucks.


I had it all figured out. The deadline for my WIP had been set for December 15th, the same day Gary's vacation days kicked in. We planned to be on an airplane to Paris the next day.

I almost forgot the old Jewish proverb: "We make plans. God says,'HA!'"

Cue the unforeseeable circumstances in my client's world, our editor's schedule, and missteps in my own time management and maybe even outright denial when it came to a realistic concept of the sheer tonnage of research involved in this multi-faceted--and incredibly fascinating--book I'm writing. The deadline was shifted to January 4th. I am locked into a jetstream of 18-hour days until then.

Meanwhile, Jerusha is working and doing a mini-mester class for school, so she couldn't get away either. This meant the only way for our family to be together was for Spike to come here from Florida, which he arranged to do, thinking he was headed for something other than the epi-center of the No Fun Zone.

"This is going to suck," Spike told me earlier today when I explained the situation to him.

At the time, I blustered something about how I miss him and it's Christmas, and then I tried to write for a couple hours, blinking tears out of my contact lenses and trying to figure out how to tear myself in two, the way working mothers always have and always will. And then I suddenly said...screw it.

No, not screw the book. If you think this is one of those stories, you don't know me at all. My name is Joni, and I'm a workaholic. But that doesn't mean I have to drag everyone else down with me. I went to Gary with the only plan that makes sense for our family this Christmas. Next week, he and Spike are going to Paris. They might take the train to see Pech Merle, or they might just dumb around together in this city they both love because they're a couple of history and art buffs. I'll find a lot of joy in doing my work well and in knowing they're having a terrific father-son adventure. Jerusha will do her mini-mester here at home with me, and I'll take my laptop to Starbucks during her shifts so I can be there during her 15-minute breaks.

It's not the perfect Christmas for our family, but I felt better about it yesterday when Colleen reminded us of that great and simple truth: "Perfect is the enemy of good."

Sometimes, you just do the best you can with what you got. And there is beauty in that, beyond perfection, beyond struggle, beyond what is expected. It's called "life."

Comments

Joni,
Sometimes making the best of what you've got is a real art form (as I explained to my son after his Christmas trip to NJ was scuttled by a blizzard). But I profoundly hope you'll take a little time off after this is over - if only for your wrists' sake!

And your family's as well. :)

Hang in there!
Erin said…
Joni,
Consider this practice for when the kids get married and you have to share them at Christmas with some family in-oh, I don't know- Belgium. You make do, you make other arrangements. You spend some quality time thinking about the impact of the birth of Jesus on this world and your life, and then you resume typing/editing. Blessings and love for you and yours. And a brisk walk in the park whenever you are ready
Suzan Harden said…
Christmas doesn't suck, Joni. It's our expectations that make it seem that way. A lesson I learned from years of watching my mother go crazy and drive everyone else nuts by trying to live up to her idea of the perfect holiday.

And frankly, hanging out in Starbucks with my kid and laptop sounds pretty good to me.
Karen said…
Thanks for your post, Joni. I had been wondering if I was the only one with planning probs for Christmas. My son is up from his Marine base in San Diego & were trying to get everyone together, except my siste keeps giving us the wrong date for day off at work. When this happened again today, I wanted to say wtf to her. But I didn't want to be told I was going to hell, etc. I try to pick my battles:). Hope u have a great holiday!
Joni Rodgers said…
Thanks, everyone. It's all good.

Erin! Peach wine just bottled! C'mon over and we'll pretend like we're going to go to the gym but then actually just hang out and eat cookies.
Jen singer said…
Oh, Joni. I'm sorry. I thought September 1st was a dumb deadline for a mother (been there, done that), but January 4th? That truly sucks.

I hope the words pour out onto your keyboard and that you get to Paris someday. When you do, take me!

Merry.
Jen
Joni Rodgers said…
I really can't complain. I was just in Paris in September, and I really love this book I'm working on. The research is eating my lunch, but it's totally fascinating.

Peace, love and jingle bells!