My eyes slowly focused on the alarm clock on my bedside table.
As my eyes began to close, a small voice whispered, “Now. You have to go to Walmart now.”
“No.” I shut my eyes and rolled over away from the clock.
“It’s December 23rd, Rashel. Do you REALLY want to go to Walmart today at any other time??”
I growled and pulled the covers up to my chin, trying to put the nagging voice out of my head.
“You still have to get a present for Cousin So-and-So, another bag to pack all of the presents in, and breakfast for the morning. You HAVE to get these things–there’s no getting around it. GET. UP.”
I sighed, hearing the logic of that nagging, bossy little voice. Slowly, I crawled out of bed and dressed. Well, kind of. I mean, it IS Walmart… at 4AM.
As I pulled into the Walmart parking lot, I was almost surprised to find a small cluster of cars dutifully piled near the only open entrance. Apparently, that wicked, naggy voice had visited more than one house that evening.
I grabbed a cart and set about gathering those last-minute items needed to survive Christmas. I was shrouded with annoyance and exhaustion, knowing I’d go home, wrap the last gift, pack a few things… and then my youngest would be up and ready to play.
As I went to the toy aisle, I was struck by the mass chaos I found. Toys on the floor, in the wrong bins… nothing where it should be or as it should be. I found an appropriate toy and realized that I’d have to buy it without knowing its price. I only paused for a moment. At 4:30AM, who cares?! As I turned to go, the sight of another mom shuffling through the piles of toys stopped me dead in my tracks. She was the picture of exhaustion. Still in her pajamas, she moved slowly like a zombie. Dark circles framed glazed eyes on an expressionless face.
Awakened to the reality around me, I glanced around. They were everywhere. Some wore pajamas, others, like me, wore some semblance of normal clothing. All plodded slowly, exhaustion radiating from their beings. Some carried the same expressionless face I’d just seen, while others were clearly annoyed.
A smile crept to my face as I stifled a giggle. This garnered me a few irritated glances… and I envisioned greeting all of the other zombie moms with an overly cheerful “MERRY CHRISTMAS!!” But then I pictured a mob chasing me, and thought it best to quietly purchase my necessary items and be on my way.
Anyway, if you’re reading this, fellow zombie mother, please remember to stop and see. See your kids as they experience Christmas. See the Gift given to us in the form of a tiny baby so many years ago.
And see the other zombie mothers, trying desperately to keep their heads above water as Christmas overwhelms and threatens to drown them. You are not alone! And what we do is surely not in vain.
I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Well written!
Yes, very well written. My children are grown up and have moved away, and years ago I decided that enough is enough. I no longer bother with the Christmas stress and I don’t miss it one bit. Last Christmas (2014) my youngest daughter was in town and I spent Christmas Day with her and her boyfriend’s family. It was lovely, but I was glad to be home afterwards.