A few days ago I woke up to the adorable pitter-patter of my daughter’s tiny feet. The birds were chirping, the cool winter sun was shining … and the first thing I thought was, “OH CRAP! I forgot to move the freakin’ elf.”
I bolted out of bed half-naked and dashed down the stairs past my daughter claiming I had an “emergency.” I ran into the living room and reached for the elf up on top of the bookshelf … but it was too late. I heard my daughter breathing behind me. She stood there all white-faced and creepy like one of the girls from The Shining.
“Mommy, Jack didn’t move last night,” she said.
“He didn’t? Are you sure?”
She was sure.
“He moved! I think he was leaning a little to the left yesterday. Look, he’s straight up now!”
She wasn’t buying it.
“Maybe he loves that spot so he came back to it. It’s got a great view of … our awesome milk-stained, yogurt-smeared couch.”
“Yeah, maybe,” she said. “OK, I guess you’re right.”
I felt like a great mom in that moment. I lied. She bought it. I saved the magic of Christmas. Time for pancakes! And I swore I’d never, ever forget to move the elf again.
And then I did. Three nights in a row. WTF was wrong with me? I told my kids “Jack” probably wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t handle the long flight to the North Pole. There has been a nasty cold going around. When they looked at me skeptically, I turned on them—as any good mother would—and blamed THEM for his stationary status.
“Did you touch him? Did you make his magic go?”
They started shaking their heads vehemently. “No! Nononononononono!” they screamed in chorus.
They looked like they were getting really upset, so I told them I believed them. I really can’t handle crying before 7am.
The truth is, I just can’t remember to move the darn elf. I set an alert on my phone and every time it goes off I think, “Who the hell is texting me at this hour????” and ignore it.
How am I supposed to remember to move the elf every night for an entire month? I’m so tired at the end of the day I can barely remember my name. I don’t want to destroy the magic or let down my kids, but I can’t handle the pressure. I mean, like I need one more thing to do at night after the kids go down. After the bedtime battles, dishes, cleaning, prepping lunch boxes—I’m spent! I don’t have an ounce of anything left in me. I just want to flop on the sofa, eat Justin’s peanut butter cups (OMG, have you tried them???) and watch crappy TV.
I wish I’d never started the tradition. ONE MORE thing to do during the holidays. I may sound like a grinch, but this time of year sucks. The holidays are hell. I’m already drowning in my regular daily life. Add the holidays to it and I’m donezo. With all the Christmas shopping, teacher gifts, holiday cards, going to parties, hosting parties, family visits, decorating the house, picking out the tree. AHHHHH! I feel like I’m going to lose a gasket! And the last thing I need is to stress out about moving a stupid elf.
But hey, at least the kids are having fun.