Suffering from SAD (the Other Kind)

by Abby on December 2, 2013

It’s that time of year again — the Festival of Trees! Christmas concerts! Visits with Santa! And I feel the pressure to pack it all in. Holiday merriment comes but once a year, right? And it’s my job as a mom to make sure my children experience the magic of the season, right? Even if it kills me? I first discovered this seasonal sickness of mine when my older son was a toddler. Let me take you back to that (not so) simpler time…

Seasonal Activity Disorder

This time of year, I am forced to admit that I am one of those people who suffers from SAD. No, not Seasonal Affective Disorder, though I do hate the shorter, darker days of winter. My problem is Seasonal Activity Disorder. Every year, I feel compelled to plan all sorts of fun holiday outings for friends and family—whether or not they actually want to participate. Yes, you WILL go see “The Nutcracker” for the 80 bazillionth time and freeze your cheeks off wobbling around on ice skates for the first time in 10 years! And you will LIKE IT!!

kids looking at a holiday train gardenTrouble is, it usually backfires. Take last week, for instance. First some friends and I decided to take our kids to that holiday train garden I mentioned. Afterwards, we’d get pizza. What fun! How festive! Right. Cut to three frazzled moms darting around after their overstimulated offspring, trying to keep them from pushing in front of other kids, licking the glass windows, diving into the fountain in the middle of the food court, and swiping drinks from other people’s tables. Five kids, three moms, all going in different directions. That was Fun Seasonal Activity #1.

Fun Seasonal Activity #2 was my idea. My husband and I would take our son to a live holiday theater performance. It was just one hour long, specifically geared towards little kids’ attention spans (or lack thereof). Just my luck the play happened to be on the same day as Miles’ school Christmas pageant. So after his classes’, um, “unique” rendition of Jingle Bells, followed by a juice and cookie party, we packed him into the car to go to yet another performance.

I guess it’s not so surprising that he couldn’t sit still through the musical interpretations of Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah tales. He was more interested in flipping the theatre seats up and down than in watching the actors. And this is the same kid who will sit with rapt attention through his 257th viewing of “Cars.” As for my husband? He fell asleep almost immediately. So much for culture.

Then there was the family outing to a local holiday lights display. We should’ve stayed in the car and done a drive-by. Battling the crush of revelers and flashbulbs while trying to keep a grip on a 3-foot-tall person’s mittened hand put me in a less-than-merry mood. Plus, it was damn cold out there!

So did I learn my lesson and resolve to stay home, curled up on the couch with a mug of hot cocoa? I did not. My parents are visiting this week, and I have a list of activities ready. I can’t stand the idea of sitting around the house every day staring at each other.

Though even I have to admit, the grandparents seem pretty happy just sitting around staring at (or chasing after, or feeding, or reading to) their grandson. And Miles is perfectly happy with his usual non-seasonal activities of tormenting the dog, jumping on furniture, and acting out fairy tales with his stuffed animals. But how can I sit at home when I know there are Christmas concerts and holiday spectaculars and breakfasts with Santa going on out there? SAD is a real sickness, I tell you.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Tina Stroup December 2, 2013 at 7:17 am

I remember that photo! HOW CUTE!


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