The Mad Rush

Christmas is coming.

It’s been my favorite time of year since I was a little girl – mainly because it was always my grandmother’s favorite time of year.  We would literally haul box after box of Christmas decorations out of the basement and replace every single decorative item in her house with one which had a Christmas theme.  It was a ton of work but we never really minded, it was a family tradition.

Those days are gone.  I have a few of her Christmas decorations in a shadow box on my wall and fond memories of she and I sitting in the dark looking at the Christmas lights on the tree, the horrible task of decorating the mantle because it was always a pain to get everything just right, and the way she would make marshmallow pie and tint one red and the other green.

These days, Christmas seems to mean less and less.  My family, once held so firmly together by the rock which was my grandmother, scattered, leaving behind just my mother and my sisters and myself.  The Christmas day of recent years was spent with me making a feast only to have my family come, eat, open gifts soon thereafter and then leave quickly – never lingering around in the evening the way we always did at my grandmother’s house.  As the last family member leaves my heart sinks and I’m left feeling lonely.

This year I’m struck by all the changes in my life.  It’s been 10 years since my grandmother passed away.  A decade of missing her and wishing she were here to talk with and laugh with.  A decade of change.  A decade of becoming someone vastly different from the person I was when she last knew me.  Cookie queen that I am these days I often wonder what she would make of my cookie decorating hobby which I’ve picked up in the past year.  Just a year ago this week I made my first attempts at cookie decorating.  My grandmother was no baker.  I remember her doing holiday baking from time to time.  It was always a quick affair, little fanfare and always rushed in the final touches.  She had no patience for it, didn’t like it, and only did it because her family enjoyed the results.  I wonder what she would think of the patience I show in my endeavors.  I wonder what she would say.

In the past two weeks I’ve made 23 dozen cookies or so.  It seems so crazy.  I decided some time over the weekend I wouldn’t be taking any more orders.  The stress of the past two weeks has taken its toll and I need to remind myself it is a money making hobby, not an actual part time job.  Plus, I have presents to wrap, treats to make for my family, and I really would like to make cookies to give to my neighbors.  All of which I SHOULD have time to do if I simply make the time for it.  I don’t want the remaining time before Christmas Eve to be a mad rush in which I feel as though I have little time and cannot enjoy the moments in which I feel the spirit of the season.  I want to watch Christmas movies as I leisurely wrap my gifts.

And so I will.

I hope everyone else out there will take the time to be present in the moment over the next week and a half.

Merry Christmas.

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“Sounds Pretty Typical”

Happy Holidays!

I don’t normally dread Christmas.  In fact, until this year, I really loved it.  I love traditions and so Christmas, with all its traditions, is simply wonderful.  This year, however, was the first time in a long time that I found myself faced with being alone on Christmas morning.  This sort of thing typically would not bother me.  It’s just that my love life isn’t what I want it to be and so I was feeling angsty.

As the day drew near I found myself dreading everyone’s “What are you doing for the holidays?” question.  It’s really invasive if you think about it.  Everyone is anticipating you saying something quaint or family filled.  When you have nothing to say, the question becomes pretty awkward.  I may… at one point… have gone off on my chiropractor when he asked me that very question.  Now mind you, I’ve a great relationship with my chiropractor and by going off I just said “Why does everyone insist on asking me that?”  I call it “going off” though because he was totally taken aback by me saying what I said and I felt like crap for having said it.

So I did the unthinkable.  I decided to spend Christmas Eve night at my Dad’s house.

I don’t have the best relationship with my stepmother and my dad is… distant at best.  However, one of my sisters stays there every year so I thought it would be fine.

The typical family Christmas Eve went down in a display of brimstone and fireworks.  One ill event led to another, and another, and another… until I just really wanted to go home.  I wanted to be anywhere but there.  I wanted to be at home, alone.

Now, I am not one to be a victim of my life.  I don’t cry about crap for days and I don’t always look for sympathy when something goes wrong in my life.  I usually just find the humor in it, share a laugh with a friend or two, and move on.  Christmas Eve had me emotional and so I confided in someone.

Their response?  “Sounds pretty typical.”

Wow.  Thanks.  I feel so much better now.

And, women of the world, you likely already recognize this individual as being male.  Why on Earth do men think the best approach is to trivialize our emotions?  Even if the response IS over something trivial, all we are really looking for is a bit of sympathy, a hug, a word of encouragement… something.

When you give us your idiotic response trivializing it, I’m sure you think you’re doing us a world of good.  You’re showing us that it really isn’t such a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

HEY IDIOT:  We know this.

You think you’re reminding us that everyone has problems.

HEY IDIOT: We know this.

I know it’s not the end of the world.  I also know it won’t do me any good to wallow in my emotions.  I don’t plan on holding up any doomsday signs.  Nor do I plan to stay in bed and cry over this for a week (or even a day, really).  I don’t need you to toughen me up.  I don’t need you to kick my ass back into shape (unless I’ve been crying over something for a week or more).  I need you to listen.  I need you to say “I’m sorry, that really sucks.”

And if you want to throw in a better behaved family while you’re at it… all the better.