Our Ridiculous Holiday Season Story

christmas tree

You guys. The holiday season tried to kick our butts. This year, my husband, son, dogs, and I were able to pack up the car on the afternoon of the 23rd, hit the road, and end up in Michigan that evening. It took my husband well over two hours to get home from work before our road trip due to holiday traffic. So, of course, his mood was nothing short of pleasant (read: sarcasm).

When I picked up our son from school before my husband arrived home from work, his teacher told me that he didn’t seem to be feeling well. My husband asked if we should make the trip and I said, “Yes.” The car was packed and we were so excited to see everyone. I knew that being around family would make our holiday season feel truly special. All the way to my parent’s house, I kept reaching back from the passenger seat to feel my son’s head to make sure he wasn’t too feverish.

With a car full of people, dogs, and luggage, we arrived at my parent’s house ready to ring in the holidays surrounded by family. We unloaded the car, put our son to bed, and enjoyed cocktails with my parents as we listened to some of our favorite songs.

On the morning of the 24th, I woke up in a panic at 7:00. Our son usually wakes up between 6:30 and 7:00 a.m. Our son wasn’t awake (but I kept telling myself that he went to bed late since we arrived late and that he needed sleep since he wasn’t feeling well). I kept an eye on the monitor for the next three hours until he finally started to wake up around 10:00 a.m. I grabbed him from his crib and I could tell he wasn’t feeling well. The rest of the crew started to stir and woke up ready to celebrate our son’s second birthday and Christmas Eve with my Mom’s side of the family. Little did we know what the day had in store for us.

We usually go to 3:30 mass and meet my Mom’s side of the family there before we all head back to my parent’s house for dinner, drinks, and presents. I ended up kissing my husband and son good-bye as I went to church with the rest of the family and he stayed home to care for our son. My heart broke and I couldn’t help but think about our son the entire time we were at church.

When I got back to my parent’s house, I could tell our son was feeling better but he wasn’t totally back to himself again. We had the Spider-Man birthday decorations all setup and the Spider-Man birthday cake ready to be devoured but … since I had to save our son from choking during dinner (and he proceeded to throw up all over his tray), we thought it best to put him to bed, allow him to get some rest, and celebrate his birthday later in the weekend.

On Christmas, we continued with the traditions of Christmas breakfast and spending the day with my Dad’s side of the family. Everything was going according to plans as our son was starting to feel a lot better as the day progressed. After our son’s long nap (I think he slept more than he stayed awake during the trip), he woke up feeling groggy and all he wanted to do was cuddle on me. No complaints here. I hid away in the basement with my husband and enjoyed the quiet time with my little family as my son caught some ZZZs on my chest.

When he woke up from his Christmas slumber, he played with toys and we enjoyed drinks, music, a White Elephant game (during which some of my Mom’s actual presents for my Dad got mixed in with the $10 gifts … major whoops), and a delicious dinner. All was right in the world.

On Saturday, the day after Christmas, my Mom’s side of the family came over to my parent’s house for yet another party. As my Mom says, the holidays are all full of “cook and clean, cook and clean, cook and clean.” Our son was feeling a heck of a lot better (but still not fully himself … I’m pretty sure he was getting his two year molars), the house was full of love and laughter, and the kiddos were playfully enjoying the day …

… and then I heard a loud screeching noise. A noise that I will never forget. My cousin’s boyfriend asked, “What’s that noise?” and I immediately ran outside to see if our dogs were fine. My parent’s have a deck with railing all around it and the dogs love to spend time in the closed-in area when it’s nice outside. Since the weather was unusually warm, we kept them out there for a little while as the guests were arriving at my parent’s house.

When I threw open the door and ran to where my dogs were at, I saw that the neighbor’s dog made his way onto my parent’s property, pulled one of my dog’s legs through the railing, and proceeded to maliciously attack my dog while my other dog tried with all of his might to protect his brother. I won’t go into the gruesome details because thinking about that moment makes my heart break into a million pieces. But, the sight was truly out of a nightmare.

When I broke up the fight (thankfully I didn’t get hurt), we analyzed both of our dogs, asked my family to watch our son, placed our dogs in the car, and drove to the nearby veterinary hospital. Hours later that were filled with emergency surgery and prescription fills, we were back at my parent’s house.

Our son had a great time while we were away. And, because he was feeling better, we placed the candles on his birthday cake, sang happy birthday to him, and watched him dig his fingers into the frosting. His eyes lit up (just like the eyes on the Spider-Man cake) when he finally understood that the cake was filled with ice cream.

Because the cake had red and blue frosting with black frosting lines, our son was covered in black frosting … and my parent’s staircase was covered in black throw up a few hours later when our nephew got sick all over the stairs. Yes, more throw up. More sick kiddos. More memories.

On Sunday, we packed up the car, kissed my parents goodbye, got stuck in an insane amount of traffic, missed getting into an accident by seconds, arrived safely at home, and shook our heads at just how much Michigan tried to kicked our butts.

Oh the holidays …

But, just as I had hoped when we decided to go to Michigan for the holidays, regardless of all the mishaps, our holiday season was definitely full of family and love. And, even though Michigan tried to kick our butts, we made it back home with memories to last a lifetime, dogs who are on the mend, and gratitude for all of the love and care during our visit.

P.S. A massive “thank you” goes out to my parents for hosting three big family parties during our visit. Mom and Dad, you rock.

How was your holiday season?

Photo credit: Vanessa Lynn. via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

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