Although the meaning of Boxing Day seems to vary depending where you look, this was the meaning that resonated most with me: "The BBC explains that Boxing Day got its name when Queen Victoria held the throne in the 1800s, and is borne out of the tradition of wealthy families boxing up gifts to give to the poor. Since servants of aristocrats were required to work on Christmas, the following day became the time when their employers filled up boxes with gifts, money, and Christmas leftovers for them, much like a holiday bonus. Servants could then go home to share the gift boxes with their families."
I can relate to this, as I feel much like a servant to nobility on the holidays. Like Queen Victoria's help, I also do not get the day off on Christmas, nor Christmas Eve, nor any other holiday (nor any day, now that I think about it). In fact, I am quite certain that I work even harder on holidays than I do on most other days of the year. No doubt there are countless other moms who can relate to my plight.
However, unlike Queen Victoria's help, I did not get today, Boxing Day, off either. Nor did my employers (otherwise known as my children) give me any boxed up gifts to take anywhere. I would have happily gone anywhere to escape the clean-up duties of the day after Christmas, even without being given their discarded gifts, left over food, or advent money (since that's the only money they have). Instead I worked, again, today. So what's up with that?
Originally, we had planned to go to the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) for the day, but when the kids woke up (two hours after I did) this morning, they said they felt too tired to go anywhere and just wanted to stay home. Really? I wonder if Queen Victoria and her family told their servants, on Boxing Day, that they were too tired to do anything enjoyable, even after being served all day on Christmas Day, by the very servants they were complaining to? Curious.
I knew that if we skipped our outing to the museum, I would be stuck working all day, which I was. I picked up balled up pieces of tissue paper, scraps of ribbon, discarded cardboard, food wrappers, and that was just in the family room where they opened gifts. I emptied dishwashers, put away gifts, vacuumed up little scraps of plastic that once held parts and pieces of toys. I refused to make breakfast, but finally acquiesced and made sandwiches for lunch, despite that I told my employers that I was not to be asked to serve any meals, all day.
I took a few secret breaks to do my online day-after-Christmas shopping, which was one of the highlights of the day. I treated myself to a few cashmere sweaters that I had been eyeing for months, that I found marked down by 80% this morning. How exciting!
When I couldn't take anymore cleaning, I announced that I was escaping the castle to go to The Commons in Calabasas to pick up a few items at Paper Source, who was also having a day-after-Christmas sale. My employers were kind enough to give me an hour off. Escape from Alcatraz! Hooray! I was liberated, at least for an hour or so, and floated around the store, looking at pretty calendars, wrapping paper, bags and bows.
When I returned, everything and everyone was waiting for me. Catherine and Miles had traipsed through mud in the backyard and dragged it into the house right onto the floor I had recently cleaned. I became slightly annoyed but then got over it in short order. We headed out for a walk at dusk. After all the rain we've had, it was crisp, cool and just what we needed.
Once home, I was back on duty, cooking, serving and cleaning up. Perhaps I need to consider looking for new employers who are generous enough to box up their castoffs, hand-me-downs, and leftovers, and give a proper day off? I wonder if The Queen is hiring?
While I cleaned, Miles Free Soloed the doorways. Today the door jam, tomorrow El Capitan!
And did archery, in the house. Notice that he's still in his pajamas at 2 in the afternoon.
In between climbing walls and shooting arrows at me, he was sneaking on my computer and phone trying to play games. He ran my entire phone battery down, which I didn't realize until I was at Paper Source. Once there I realized that my phone was stone cold dead and that in the event of an emergency, the kids wouldn't be able to reach me. Nice going Miles.
Catherine and Graham were very helpful, as always. They volunteered to start writing the thank you notes for all the gifts we received. Catherine started and then passed the baton to Graham, to complete. Thank you, my beloved twins.
Catherine took a break from note writing to count change with Garin. I have absolutely no idea why? Notice that Garin, like Miles, is still in his pajamas at 2 in the afternoon. Birds of a feather...
The rain stopped today, so Catherine and Garin were able to get out on the driveway and properly play with the new tetherball game she got for Christmas. Year after year, the boys insist that Catherine takes the prize for picking the best toys. Maybe one of these years they might wisen up and ask her for suggestions? Just a thought....
Around 5, we finally got out for our walk.
Dinner is served! Giant Fusilli with tomato and onion concasse, crispy pancetta and chiffonade of fresh basil. On the side, a green salad with chopped beefsteak tomato, feta cheese and croutons.
Once I was done cooking and cleaning, my work still wasn't done. The kids couldn't pick a show to watch and sat idly until I came in to help them make a selection. A mother's work is never done.