The dang elf is back. I am still not sure who decided giving overly busy Mamas preparing for Christmas in the month of December the daunting task of adding not just another thing to do – but another thing to do nightly! Yeah, great, can’t wait to worry about remembering to move that arrogant looking, smiling creature every single day for the next 3 weeks.
Regardless, she is back. She came back December 1st because Maylie remembered that she always comes back December 1st. Or Maylie made that up with her hopes up because, heck, I don’t remember when she comes back every year (usually the latest that I can squeak by with). But, Maylie poured so hard into Susie arriving at that time, that I had no choice but to start.
Look guys, I despise this thing. It drives me insane trying to think of different ideas every single night. I have enough on my plate. I could totally do without the elf altogether.
I mean, when the kids were really young this elf was easy, I could just have it ride the tops of the curtains – repositioning it from room to room yet out of little hands reach – and these kids got a kick out of it. But, as they have gotten older (and learned to not touch her), I have had to get more creative.
And, well, I am just not creative when it comes to the elf. I literally do the same thing every year – all of the same goofy antics on repeat. So then, it is just another thing on my Christmas list of cheer for my girls that I feel like I am not doing enough of. Look at what all those other moms did with their elves! Holy moly who has time to come up with these things?
But then, this year, as my 8-year-old kept wishing for Susie to come on December 1st, I couldn’t help but see the excitement of Christmas in her eyes. Completely giddy about the appearance of our elf, she could not stop talking about it in the day or two leading up to it.
Not only that, but after Susie showed up on that foreshadowed-by-Maylie day, Maylie started talking about the next things Susie would do. “Oh, I hope she goes to the tree tonight! I love it when she puts our underwear on the tree, it is so funny!”
Yes, that is a got-to every year – it is simple and gets a laugh. But it is also a recycled move – one that I feel guilty about using over and over. But it is so easy! And here was my girl, so excited about a move that I was feeling so guilty about!
And two things hit me in that moment: 1. Maybe my weak elf moves really aren’t that weak. And 2. My oldest baby is 8 – we are talking about deodorant and nightly face washing (shh don’t tell her I told you) — but how long will that sweet baby of mine long for and believe in the absolute magic of Christmas?
My heart broke. This stupid elf that I have hated for the last however many years has always been a tradition in our house. Regardless if she is doing the same dang trick year after year, my babies do not care. They just love that she comes back. They love the thought of all the magic she entails. At least for now.
All too soon, I know, that her magic will be gone. This time, not because a kid touched her, but because my kids will be too old to truly believe. And I cannot even handle that right now. How does time go so fast? Why can’t we keep them in that little ball of innocence and belief for much longer?
On Susie’s second night back, after hearing the gabbing of the girls, Susie did perform her infamous trick of underwear on the tree. And I, as an elf-moving mama, went to bed differently that night knowing that my girls actually love the year-to-year duplicate of the elf and I am totally doing ok.
Not only that, but I opened my eyes up to the fact that this elf is truly not going to be around holding its magic much longer – which should have been relieving but instead felt heartbreaking. For that means, that I only have a matter of time before my girls stop believing.
So, I made a decision, this year that elf is going to be epic! No matter the time it takes to find her a new spot, time is passing too quickly. From arch nemesis to bestie, this dang elf and I are going to make sure that this year is one that truly brings all the magic.
Happy Elf Season.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.