Weekend Wanderer: How to Find Time for the Holidays

weekend wanderer

So I was reading this article about holiday stress and thinking I’d like to have some normal holiday stress instead of this berserker holiday stress that is solely responsible for the 15.5 Hershey’s Kisses I ate last Saturday.

It was only 15.5 because, well, because I like to eat four at a time but when you’re obsessive “like to eat four at a time” becomes “need to eat four at a time because that’s how we always do it” and sometimes four at a time is too many and you choke and have to spit out half a Kiss.

And now I want a Hershey’s Kiss.

I have rapidly discovered over the last few weeks that an abrupt decline in both of your parents’ already declining health totally kills your holiday schedule, and almost kills you when half of a Hershey’s Kiss thinks your trachea is an escape hatch.

So now that I’m talking to doctors, social workers, and all kinds of people in your neighborhood I never thought I’d need, I’m finding it hard to find time to do things like Tinseltown or the reenactment of Washington’s crossing of the Delaware or the Christmas Village.

Let me be clear: I’m not having trouble finding the joy in these things. I told you – if Buddy the Elf and Mary Bailey and the Ghost of Christmas Present had a baby, that baby would be a four Hershey’s Kisses sucking Weekend Wanderer in Bucks County.

Me. That baby would be me.

It’s the time that is eluding me. As the precious December days flicker by, they are consumed with doctor’s appointments and family meetings instead of glitter and cocktails.

Well, the cocktail part might be an exaggeration. I wasn’t exactly chasing those Hershey’s Kisses with milk, you know?

Short of having a Christopher Reeve-era Superman fly around the Earth to reverse time, how can I have the space to run through my holiday activity list while also taking care of my parents?

Don’t say take them with me. Please don’t say take them with me.

I have wonderful parents. As in, “we’ll skip vacation so we can send you to Europe” parents. But my mom will tell you she and I are mutually exclusive – we can’t both occupy a space at the same time. Put us in a car for a light show and I’m going to let that half a Hershey’s Kiss stay in my airway long enough to knock me unconscious for a bit.

The Christian practice of Advent, as this article suggests, is a lovely way to take a breather during the holidays. It is a season I observe those four weeks before Christmas, but it’s not quite what I was looking for.

Actually, I think what I was looking for was Hawkeye.

I mean, think about it for a minute. Christmas movies are great. Superhero movies are great. But superhero movies that take place at Christmas? That’s like eating eight Hershey’s Kisses at once!

Without choking, though. Obviously.

Even better, Hawkeye is a series. So it’s really six Christmas superhero movies. That’s like twelve Hershey’s Kisses, which is probably physically impossible, but we need to stick with multiples of four here.

Hawkeye and I get each other. Here’s Hawkeye, trying to enjoy Christmas when he gets tangled in a mess for sure not of his own making.

Brother, I know how that goes.

I can identify with Hawkeye better than I can with that article I was reading about holiday stress. I mean, when my hope for the season is to A) keep my parents out of the hospital and B) keep Hershey’s Kisses out of my lungs, the first suggestion to “temper expectations” feels sort of Scrooge-y in a decrease the surplus population kind of way.

So while I spent Sunday watching General Washington cross the Delaware, I had to leave for my parents’ place by the time the Continental Army laid siege to Trenton.

My parents’ artificial Christmas tree and fifty-two Dickens’ Village houses live with me when it’s not Christmas. Every year, I walk in like Andy Williams – a big fat pack upon my back. Only my pack is filled with Christmas decorations instead of toys.

A little heads up for those of you assembling artificial trees for octogenarian parents: Lock the wheels before you flip the bottom half into place.

I didn’t.

I nearly knocked my parents down like a pair of bowling pins. Runaway artificial trees are pretty aggressive.

Once the tree was done trying to decrease the surplus population, I plugged it in. Dozens of warm white lights twinkled.

I watched my parents’ faces. Their joint countenance absorbed the light.

For those first few minutes of cheery light, poor health and new pills and specialist appointments didn’t exist.

Just Christmas.

It was almost as good as Hawkeye.

And that is my wish for you. Find your Hawkeye. Find your fake tree. Find whatever is worthy of your time this season.

And maybe only eat three Hershey’s Kisses at a time.

Well, let’s say two. That’s a factor of four and therefore acceptable to my obsessive nature. Yeah. Definitely go with two.

Merry Christmas.

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