Days 6 & 7 & 8: Christmas!

Christmas Eve was a lovely, relaxed day – knowing just one family was coming over for Christmas the next day took off a lot of the pressure to make things “perfect” (though this sort of begs the question – what about my older aunts’ and uncles’ presence requires perfection? Pretty sure they are not expecting it of us!). We usually (even in pre-pandemic times) try to avoid grocery shopping on Christmas Eve, but this year our shopping trip on the 23rd still left several critical holes to fill (the herbs for two of our favorite appetizers, most importantly – see photos below), so we found ourselves in the grocery store again on Christmas Eve. It was honestly not as bad as we expected, and we very efficiently got right through our list.

Spent the rest of the day cleaning a bit, mostly relaxing, and ended with a viewing of Home Alone II with my mother. This yielded two revelations:

1) I was finally able to put a finger on the feeling that I get every time I check into a hotel alone when I travel for work – it’s Kevin exploring his hotel room in New York and ordering whatever the hell he wants on room service. (NB I am not usually even a fraction as excessive, but I do take particular pleasure in exploring the takeout options or the hotel restaurant and selecting my food. I think maybe it’s because I don’t feel guilty – I have no option but to eat out, and it’s paid for by the company, so… it’s that much more special than eating out on vacation.)

2) My mother and I decided that, while from one perspective, Kevin’s antics in Home Alone are all hilarious and in good fun, from another perspective, it’s possible he should be evaluated for sociopathic tendancies – he’s unsettlingly good at lying, very charming when he wants to be, and seems to take bizarre pleasure in frying that one guy with the car jumping cables. So. That’s what happens when you watch Home Alone with a retired psychiatrist. I still love it though!

Moving on, Christmas itself was delightful: preparations went smoothly despite some low-grade, very vague, almost-imperceptible nausea the whole time – just enough that nothing looked appetizing to me, but I soldiered on through making it anyway. Then when it came time to serve it, I was suddenly starving and it all tasted delicious. So… that’s good, right? Anyway it was lovely to finally spend some time with my cousin and his family, and I think everything went as smoothly as it could given that my parents and I are all raging introverts and no aunts and uncles were there to carry the conversation when we let is sputter out. I don’t think our cousins held it against us, though. I mean, who has any social skills left after this pandemic, anyway?

After they left, I spent some time sending out messages with holiday wishes, sitting by the fire, which was lovely, and then my father and I had our traditional viewing of “A Christmas Carol” (George C. Scott version). We love that movie so much!!

Unfortunately, a headache had started to creep up on me by that point. It got progressively worse in the night, necessitating tylenol at 3 a.m. and again when I woke up. Actually, I woke up at 7:30 and soldiered through until enough time had passed to reasonably take another dose. It was hard. It was a vomit-feeling headache (potentially compounded by morning sickness? hard to know) and while the headache let up around 11 a.m., the faint nausea and almost dizzy-feeling (is that also “morning sickness”? Or otherwise pregnancy-related? Or am I just feeling old?) continued throughout the day.

My mom reeeeally wanted to execute our traditional mother-daughter trip to the outlets about an hour away, and while I would have happily waited until another day, I also wasn’t sure if I would, in fact, feel better on another day. Also, is this part of being an adult? Sometimes doing things according to other people’s schedules instead of making them conform to my ideal schedule? It seems like it might be. Anyway, we went, and between still feeling pretty icky and also feeling extremely confused about what the hell people wear these days (what sort of jeans should I get? To wear with what shoes? What is happening? How can I look nice for work? Can someone just tell me what to do?), especially after a year and a half of working from home, I did not have as much fun as I had imagined in all the months that we were saying ‘when things get a bit better we’ll go back to the outlets’.

It occurred to me that perhaps the time has come in my life to not shop at the outlets. Maybe I need to shop at the actual stores and get fewer things, but full price, so that they’ll be better quality. I suppose the outlet stuff is in the outlets for a reason, right? (Actually I have no idea how it gets there – I always figured it was last season or something, but who really knows? Maybe it’s the rejects or something.) It would be a bit sad not to make that trip with my mom anymore, though – we have a whole ritual about it (it involves stopping for Dunkin Donuts coffee on the way) and we love chatting through the trip there. It’s also an easy and scenic drive. Anyway. I suppose we’ll figure it out. And I’m happy we still have more shopping trips together ahead of us to enjoy during this trip.

In other news, today I am not feeling nauseous or headachey and it is a really nice change. Last night I had a bit of a wobbly moment about the pregnancy involving such wonderings as: will I ever sleep well and feel rested again? What will I do when I’m exhausted and introvert-grumpy but the baby still needs me to do something? Will my body ever be mine again? It seems like it will be returned to me all messed up and deformed and I might not recognize it anymore. Will that ever go away so it can feel like mine again? Maybe not because I’m 35 and the “bounce back” type of people are all people who did pregnancy in their 20s? So I will maybe never wear a bikini again because I will have weird wrinkly belly skin? Why did I not enjoy the experience of blithely wearing a bikini this summer while I still could?! (Answer: because the two times we went to the beach, my mind was dominated by worrying about my father’s cancer and my grandmother’s imminent death, so I think I really did my best there.) Anyway. I think I still need to process these feelings, including maybe potentially talk to a therapist about them so I can make these admissions freely and without shame. (It seems like you’re supposed to be singularly happy when you talk about pregnancy with people you know in real life, right?) I keep waiting for that “yayyyy I’m pregnant!” feeling to kick in, but so far it’s about 50% surprise and disbelief, and 50% oh my god what did I get myself into. Anyway.

Okay. I’m off to enjoy this day, because in the same vein as not enjoying potentially my last just-me stomach bikini time this summer, what I can either consciously enjoy or not right now is one of the last times I will spend at my childhood home where I am just my parents’ daughter, and not also the mother of their grandchild. (I mean, this is all assuming that everything goes well, which, as we well know, is not at all a guarantee. God. Imagine if things don’t go well, what a complicated feeling that will be, since I’ve gone and admitted to myself – and, thoeretically, the world at large right here on the internet! – that I’m feeling ambivalent about this pregnancy.)

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