‘The Day After’ anything is always kind of let down, a day to be given away to moping and whining and recovering from the high of yesterday. As a kid, our ‘Day After’ routine was met with a lot of cleaning, organizing, throwing things away, more cleaning, more organizing, a break for soup and grilled cheese (and maybe, if we were lucky, the last few remaining chards of broken Christmas cookies), and cleaning. Wait, did I mention cleaning? I owe it to my mom for doing most of it, but my siblings and I were given the ultimatum: clean and organize your room (including giving away our lesser used toys, books and games to make way for new ones) and then you can play with your new things. The trouble was, I was so distracted by the thought of getting to play with my new things that the first part of that equation never really took shape. On top of that (being the youngest of 3) my siblings were always smarter and quicker in putting their things away, which left me doubly distracted by my desire to play with my things and the actual spectacle of my brother and sister already playing with their things. Needless to say, every day after Christmas I was a childish heap of a meltdown by 3pm and confined to my messy room until I could calm myself down enough to try to whole process over again.
Those memories are sharp, colorful, fragrant. And I hope the ones for my kids will be, too. I want these days to be filled with exploring, slipping through snow covered forest trails, decorating living Christmas trees, making rubber band loaded butterflies fly on a frozen creek bed and playing tag with trees. Fortunately for me I still have one of three that is game for this type of ‘Day After’ excursions. And I hope the mountains and trees and snow stir her spirit enough for her to keep this up as she grows For the bigs, the day after is almost a hangover. Waking up feeling like they got hit by a bus. The previous 12 hr day of constant cousins and sugar and hugs from grandparents and more sugar and forced ‘12 days of Christmas singing’ really takes it’s toll. For them, the day after is full of quietly hand-lettering and drawing by the fireplace and staring into video-game-screaming devices and watching Christmas movies ‘till they puke.
And as much as I want everyone to be doing something together, some sort of family activity, I’m pretty darn content right now to just let everyone be. As long as there isn’t the scent of windex or the sound of a vacuum all day, I think we will all make it through in one piece.