|The view from here...|
Friends, I am full of Russian Tea and Honeycrisp Apple Cider instead of cheese, but that second stick figure and I are soulmates. I realized today when I left to take something to hubs at work that he had forgotten that I HAVE NOT LEFT THE HOUSE SINCE TUESDAY. And that would have been even more shocking if I was 100% certain what day today is. I think it's Saturday, judging by the programs on NPR this morning and the fact that THERE IS FOOTBALL ON TELLY TONIGHT THANK GOODNESS. I have grown so accustomed to college football on Saturdays that I don't know what to do with myself when there isn't any to be had.
But back to Christmas. This year it felt like we had summer, and then just the start of fall, and then BAM! Thanksgiving followed by a bit of winter and then it was Christmas Eve. Maybe it's because I'm an old lady now that time seems to speed up like that if I'm not keeping an eye on things, but I was not ready for Christmas at all.
To those of you nodding your heads knowingly and tutting and clucking, yes, a large part of it is that it is my first Christmas without either of my parents still here. They loved Christmas so much - or at least Daddy did. The amount and creativity of that man's decorating skills were LEG-EN-wait for it- DARY. I don't think there was an inch of any house we lived in growing up or their retirement home in Cleveland that wasn't covered in garland and red bows. This year I managed a tree, and on Christmas Eve-Eve I got two new stockings for me and Simon (since the dogs shredded mine last year and I couldn't find his). The front door and the kitchen door have wreaths. But that's all, really, save the sewing Santa statue I put out every year and our Jesus-Less Nativity scene (we think one of the dogs made off with Our Lord and Savior two years ago).
I find myself longing for Christmas to last, for the temps to go somewhere below the 68F/20C that we are experiencing today. It isn't just that I have some time off work (though that is nice). I have had anxiety surrounding change my entire life. Mom said that when I was a girl I would cry when the credits rolled at the end of a tv program. Even now I can feel my gut clench just a bit when I think about the fact that the end of an entire year - an entire decade is coming up next week. But that isn't what is causing my need for things to slow down, already.
I think I was waiting for it to feel like Christmas. I've had my grief, the mourning has been done, now it should feel back to normal again, right? Wrong. The harder I push myself to make things feel normal again, the worse it is when they aren't. So to any of you that are struggling this season with a holiday that didn't feel quite right - a holiday that seems to have come on fast and left nothing in its wake but weirdness - I see you. You are heard and understood - and loved. I'm saving space for you here, with me in this dirty house on my worn leather sofa, looking at the fake fire in the television and listening to the same instrumental music on repeat since Tuesday night. We will get through this and next year will be a better - if not normal, not yet - winter holiday season.