Work with me, please.

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I had a great visit with my Florida sister, her husband and their three beautiful daughters. I love when the cousins get together. They had their share of spats, but they all enjoyed the stay too. The weather was fantastic — nice enough for the kids to play and picnic outside. We ate well and within reason (ahem, in my opinion).

One of the most striking aspects of the trip and the days leading up to it is that my kids and nieces seem confused about where Thanksgiving ends and Christmas begins. Or, should I say where Christmas pauses for Thanksgiving and then begins again?

About a week before Thanksgiving, Jay asked if we could “set up” for Christmas. I told him that we would decorate after Thanksgiving because I can handle only one holiday at a time. Last Saturday, he and Mae started writing out their wish lists, and chica is up to 50 items.

On the eve of our trip to Florida, Jay and I stopped at the pharmacy. Of course, there were Christmas decorations galore and all kinds of things associated with the holiday were on display. Jay started whining, saying that it’s Christmas and we need decorations. I told him that it’s too soon. He told me that he had seen other houses with decorations. I had to think about that for a minute. There are houses in our neighborhood where it seems the residents leave Christmas lights up year round. It’s also possible that there are some households where zealous adults have followed the retailers’ lead on getting an early start or anxious children have brow beat their parents into decorating. I didn’t bother to argue with him. I told him that we’d decorate after we returned from Florida, end of discussion.

My sister and I took the kids to a children’s museum on Wednesday, and there were lights, green garland and “‘Tis the Season” signs outside of the entrance. The kids were skipping and singing “Christmas, Christmas!”. The next morning, on Thanksgiving day, my four-year old niece came to me with a sad face. She said, “Is Christmas gone?” I told her no, that Christmas will come later. I reminded her that it was Thanksgiving. L’s mind was elsewhere. She asked, “Why didn’t I get any presents?” I told her that she may get presents for Christmas, but not Thanksgiving.

We went to see the Muppet movie on Friday. Fortunately, it’s a sleepy mall and we weren’t overrun by shoppers. Looking at the decorations as we entered the mall, L said, “It’s Christmas!” Jay told her that it wasn’t. They went back and forth a few times. Finally, I told them they were both right: it’s the Christmas season but not Christmas day.

I know Jay will be on my back about “setting up” shortly after we pull into the driveway this afternoon. We have actually two other celebrations before we can get to that. Today is Hubby’s birthday, and our 12th wedding anniversary. Two grand occasions. Hubby is even more awesome than he was 12 years ago. I’m grateful for him and everything he’s been to me. So, we have to honor him first.

We’re in Atlanta, awaiting our last flight, which I’m sure will go as smoothly as the others went. Then, it’s celebration time for the rest of the day, and tomorrow begins the race to the “C” word. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe . . . .

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