It’s Christmas’s fault

I can’t sleep. I’m exhausted, it’s 5:30 on a Sunday morning, and I can’t sleep. Items for my “to do” list keep popping up in my head. Until two minutes ago, I was lying in bed, trying to fall back asleep while trying to commit my to-do list to memory while simultaneously trying to will the entire list away until I got up. The list wouldn’t go away, so I got up.

I blame Christmas.

I’m not even hosting. We are actually now at my in-laws’ house in the Midwest, and will be shuttling between obligations here and obligations at my parents’ house for the remainder of the week. But there are still too many things to do. Here’s what my brain came up with in the last half-hour. I’m pretty sure it forgot something critical, though:

  • Work. The end of the calendar year is a stressful time at work, and I’m slated to review and approve a project today, once I receive it from a colleague.
  • Shop for a new gift for our nephew B., because the supplier decided the other day that they couldn’t get their act together to ship his actual present in time. They e-mailed me on Thursday, but I was too busy trying to wrap up that work project and packing for Christmas travel to notice until 5 in the morning yesterday. When we were about to get in the car to drive 12 hours to my in-laws’ house to begin our week of Christmas festivities.
  • Wrap all the gifts that did get shipped in time to my in-laws’.
  • Figure out with Ted whether we are obligated to attend church with his parents this morning. I should note that we are never obligated per se, other than maybe Christmas Eve mass, but the choice must be weighed carefully with any potential emotional ramifications of choosing not to go.
  • Wrap all the gifts that got shipped to my parents’ house when we arrive there at 10 on Christmas Eve night.
  • Host book group.

Clearly that last item is not critical for this week. But this is the kind of “Oh, crap! I’d totally forgotten!” item that always crops up in these anxiety-riddled times and that my brain works overtime to hang on to in the wee hours. It knows that if I’d forgotten it before, then I will just as easily forget it again. My brain these days is like a sieve—except at 4 or 5 in the morning. Then it just will not. Let. Anything. Go.

My therapist—yes, I have a therapist. I’m an anxiety-prone, working mom who grew up with a Tiger Mom. Of course I have a therapist.

Anyway, my therapist tells me in these times that the critical things will get done. And the other stuff that didn’t get done—well, they just weren’t important, were they?

Which makes sense on an intellectual level. But how come they all have to feel so important?

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