At 6:15 on Saturday morning she crept into my room. She sidled up to my bed, rested her hand on my shoulder and whispered “Welcome to the North Pole!” to my sleeping face.
I still remember the days when I would have to wake her. The excitement not yet completely absorbed, not seeping in enough to wake her earlier than a normal day. Realizations about the day ahead wouldn’t dawn without some prompting. I didn’t understand it at the time but I was living it for her then. Pulling her along, though she came willingly, she would have been just as happy for every day to be the same. But not anymore. And it’s just another reminder that we’re here. Right where the magic is, we’re here. She’s living it now for herself and she’s making it all her own and I never thought I’d want to share the reins but I really, really do. Because the sparkle she brings is far brighter than anything I could do on my own.
I hit my usual low point on Friday evening. You know, the one where I question why I’m doing this and what is it all for? With a throbbing migraine and the passenger seat in our car stuck in recline so that I had to ride home from dinner in the toddler’s lap and early worries about Christmas day weather and travel issues and a few work things that just brought me down last week, I was not in the mood. But I plugged along because, well, when you are expecting 7 pajama-clad friends to show up at your door the next afternoon, what else can you do? And on Saturday? Of course, the car got fixed and I let Christmas travel be another day’s worries and I was glad that I spent my exhausted hours on Friday evening plotting out how a five year old could make a rockin snowman ornament.
Because this was not to be missed.
Last year, we had 14 kids. This year? 8 including my own two. I was serious about the word calm this year. No more chaotic parties in which I play traffic cop more than mom-creating-the-magic. This year I got in it. I got to watch her and her friends bounce from thing to thing. I got to watch him really start getting into it (that’s him, up there in the corner, with the silver glitter. His reindeer food is all glitter and flying powder which, of course, I love). I got to chat with other moms and just enjoy the moment, fun and magic and candy and cookies. Which is really what it’s all about. Is it really magical if the mama isn’t there to witness and feel the sparkle too? I think not.
As always, it takes me a few tries to properly weigh the priorities. I’m proud to say that this year, when at 9pm Friday night, M suggested that he buy pre-made cookie dough the next morning, I didn’t white knuckle the baking duties. The kids don’t know homemade from store-bought. And maybe they don’t know ‘mom’s in the magic’ vs. ‘mom’s a ball of stress’ either. But I kinda think they feel it.
This year’s pajama party at the north pole was every bit the magical experience I wanted it to be. Next year will be different, with more 3-year-olds in the mix again and a whole different mix up of kids but I’m already excited. Somewhere between the snowman-making and the obligatory (and loud) child-led laps around the house, my migraine faded and I found my holiday spirit.
Want a piece of this magic? Here’s some of the stuff that made this come together. If you read last year’s how-to post, much of what I did this year was the same. In fact, as I joked to a friend, this party sorta came out of a box. I bought a lot of the ornament craft materials at Target and Michael’s on sale at the end of last year. I saved the reindeer food containers, signs, and labels and just brushed them off again. I even saved the food materials (glitter, oats, raisins, coconut for flying powder). So head back there for all that goodness, including printables.
Bingo cards I printed out from Crazy Little Projects.
As for the nanny who wore her owl pajamas and agreed to be a toy owl who had come to life to read books to the kids during the quieter moments (backstory by my girl)? She’s one of a kind and all mine. But I hope you have such a person in your life too.