To continue my "Help, I'm losing my Christmas spirit (and my mind!)" post: Saturday I actually got to sleep in a bit - oh happy day! I had a leisurely breakfast, then went out to do some Christmas shopping. It was so pleasant to get a couple hours to myself, and I thought I was back to some semblance of "life is going okay" emotional balance. Friday had faded to the point of being an "Oh well, we might as well laugh at it" memory.
Sadly, I had grossly overestimated my capacity to deal with my kids' relationship and autism issues on Saturday. In plain English, that means that after lunch the kids were bickering and snarky, selfish and rude, overtired and obnoxious, controlling and annoying, and I lost my patience and gave them a piece of my mind. (In even plainer English, I did a pretty good Sybil imitation.)
So what did we decide to do with the rest of our day? Why, we decided that some family time would be a good idea. (Cue the "I've got a bad feeling about this" Star Wars references.) Let's go shopping, we thought. We can finish some Christmas shopping at Target, Safety Guy can spend that GameStop gift card that's been burning a hole in his pocket, and we can see the Christmas decorations at Lights on the Lake. Sounds like fun, right? We decided to do the lights first, since it was early.
Good heavens. I should have stopped while I was behind, had a wine cooler, and gone to bed at 5PM. The line for Lights on the Lake (a big thing in the Syracuse area) was insanely long and slow. We crawled along for an hour and a half BEFORE we even got into the park where the light displays are staged. After the first hour Safety Guy got bored and cramped, and Princess Yakyak started tossing out snarky comments and baiting her brother. Tech Guy did a manful job of being patient, and I did my best to not say something I'd regret for the rest of my kids' (probably very SHORT at that point) lives.
We waited and waited. We talked. We tried to keep it light. We cycled through several radio stations looking for Christmas music that actually alluded to Christ (and finally found one). Once we got into the park and paid to go through the light display, there weren't any turnoffs to get out of the line of cars. We'd passed the point of no return. Right after that point (of course) Safety Guy started to get upset and wanted to get out of the car and walk, because it looked like by the time we got out of there we were going to be too late to make our planned trip to GameStop - it would be closed. Unhappiness of the perseverating kind erupted every 5 minutes or so after that.
PYY lived up to her nickname - and oh, was she annoying all of us with her commentary. I dug my fingernails into my palm to keep from going ballistic as I repeatedly had to intervene between the kids to keep/restore the peace. We hadn't bargained on such a crazy wait, and the car was low on gas when we started, so by that point I was wondering what would happen if we ran out of gas and had to call AAA from the middle of the display. I could imagine us pushed off to the side of the road, parked in the glow of a bunch of holiday lights in the shape of a candy cane, while my husband or I walked back to the entrance to find some gas. We finally got to the main section of lights ("Look, something shiny!") and drove through the display, which is a couple miles long. Oh. So. Slowly. I swear, some people had to take pictures of every single candy cane, elf, snowflake, and reindeer. It went on and on and on and on - Christmas music and lights with a background patter of incipient autism meltdown and sibling baiting and parental angst.
We got in line to see the lights at 5:30. We drove out of the display at 9:30.
FOUR HOURS in the car. No bathroom. No drinks. The two packs of TicTacs I had given to the kids around 7PM didn't do much to divert them. Nothing but pure, unrelieved TOGETHERNESS. It sounds like the plot of another Chevy Chase movie. ("Look kids - Big Ben!")
The first thing we did when we finally got out of the park was find a gas station. (Gas - check. Drinks - check. Getting more than two feet away from everyone else before someone got seriously hurt - check. Bathroom - NOT.) Then we went over to the shopping plaza, and by some miracle we made it to GameStop 10 minutes before it closed, and we found a bathroom. All was right in Safety Guy's world again. Eventually (after doing our long-delayed Christmas shopping at Target), we made it home.
I stayed up much too late after we made it back from the Lights on the Lake expedition, just puttering on the computer and enjoying being LEFT ALONE. (I see a pattern here. . . .)
And that was it for Saturday night.