It’s not like I was excited to be laid up for the holidays, but I admit I was kinda looking forward to lounging around and watching sappy Christmas movies and being waited on hand and foot with the excuse of “I just had neck surgery.”
The holiday season is the busiest time of year for elves (i.e. moms) and I was curious what it would be like from the vantage point of a couch potato for once. How would holiday magic actually happen without me running around like an elf with her head cut off making everything nice for everybody?
Truth be told, there was no way I was going to turn over complete elf duty to my other half and offspring. Nobody wants a sequel to “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Luckily, I already had a lot of my holiday prep finished when I found out I was having surgery just five days before Christmas. But I do use those last few days as prime prep time, so I was behind. With the week I had before surgery, I cranked out as much holiday magic as I could. At zero hour, I was prepped and ready to lie on the couch moaning for the holidays.
Then, I didn’t need to.
After surgery, I actually felt pretty good. The last dose of pain meds I needed was just twelve hours after surgery. The morning after, I was cleared to check out of the hospital and I didn’t even have my hubby fill any prescriptions on the way home. My neck was sore, but manageable with over-the-counter stuff. Other than that, I felt good—dang it!
I did have orders to rest no matter how good I felt, which I did—sorta. It’s difficult for me to sloth when I don’t feel lousy, especially during the holidays. The prescribed neck brace I was ordered to wear 24/7 was annoying and made me move like the Tin Man, but it didn’t hurt. The doctor said I mostly had to wear it to remind me I just had neck surgery so I wouldn’t do anything stupid. Well, stupid concerning my neck. Unfortunately, the brace didn’t cover my mouth.
The first few days home I totally blew it with my family. Despite the awkward brace, I was way too functioning for them to feel sorry for me and be pampering and extra helpful. But it’s the holidays and I wanted it to be nice! So, sporting the plastic choker, I relinquished my couch potato holiday fantasy and resumed elf duty—cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping and hosting, with some naps and Christmas chick flicks squeezed in between.
One of those cheesy flicks was about a workaholic movie executive who produced holiday specials. She expected her staff to sacrifice their holiday in order to make it magical for others. The mantra she kept chanting to her weary staff was, “Christmas is not for the elves!” meaning someone has to do the behind-the-scenes dirty work to make the magic happen. Moms truly are the holiday elves and though it can be a pain in the neck, some years more than others, we do it to make the holidays special for those we love. I hope they elfing appreciate it.