Seriously. I have such a hard time with the holidays these days. It gets harder and harder every year to get into the spirit of the season (Joy to the World and Peace on Earth and all that jazz), and it’s just a struggle. It’s not even this “war on Christmas” that people keep going on about… because honestly, that’s just silly and stupid and a foolish thing to fight over. I don’t know what to do about it either. Maybe it’s a bipolar thing, I mean, I’ve noticed I tend to go more manic in the summer months, and right around this time of year, I slide into the depression side.
We don’t have money to be extravagant in our gift giving, and some members of my family make it a big deal to try to out-do one another on presents. Like that’s the point of the whole thing or something. We gave baskets of homemade items again this year, filled with tea and macadamia nut fudge that I made, candles and cookies that Steve made, and it seemed like no one appreciated the idea that we wanted to be more personal. Instead, we got looks of disappointment and disapproval from some people. We couldn’t even really get gifts for the kids this year, much less any of the adults. It makes me so very sad.
Speaking of kids, in Cub Scouts, I tried talking to the boys about the “True Spirit of Giving”, and they seemed to dwell on they get presents. I explained how not everyone gets things for Christmas, and that some families don’t even have homes to live in or food to put on the table. It doesn’t seem to click, maybe they’re still too young to understand. I got a lot of weird stuff this year. Like 2 boxes of Kleenex. I’m not kidding! I got tissue for Christmas. And scarves. They’re lovely scarves, but I don’t wear scarves. I guess I should be more grateful for the thought of something for me… but man. I’m actually pretty damn easy to shop for. I like amazon gift cards. Really, that’s all I ask for Christmas, my birthday, mother’s day… I get asked what I would like and I tell people that and they’re like “no really, what do you want?” So I repeat myself “I just told you, amazon gift cards” and then I’m told to ask for something other than that. Well, I’m sorry, there’s not much else that I want. At least not something that can just be given away as a present (unless you have an empty house you want to just give me). I’m grateful for the little things that I have, so I don’t really want anything else.
So I have a hard time with Christmas. Which is sad, because it used to be one of my favorite times of the year. When my Grandpa was still alive, and before he left, we would really make a big deal of decorating together. It was kind of our thing, and those are some of my favorite childhood memories. And sure, we’d get lots of presents, but it wasn’t about just the presents. It was the look on people’s faces when they saw that special item from someone else. It was the joy, the food, the family and friends… it was about togetherness. My Grams would make a bunch of food and the whole family would get together at our house… which got very crowded very quickly. But it was wonderful! My Grams, my aunts and uncles crowding the kitchen helping with dinner, me and my cousins playing in the dining room area… Grandpa Don falling asleep in the recliner next to the tree every year and then getting decorated as a prank… those are really good, happy memories for me.
Even as a teenager, after Grandpa left, I held on to that love of Christmas, and I remember walking around the highlands my sophomore year with my friend Amber, getting my first latte ever and Christmas shopping together. I remember the look of surprise on people’s faces when I handed out Christmas cards to people randomly. Always just a little personalized, sketches on the envelope and just a little joy spread someone else’s way. I remember that year, this one guy who hated me (he was a friend of another friend of mine)… I gave him a card one year and he was like “but I hate you… why would you give me a Christmas card? Why would you do something so nice, when I don’t like you?” I kind of shrugged and said “Why not? Happy Christmas!” and walked away. To me, that’s what it’s all about. Spreading a little joy to someone else, no matter who they might be.
Now, it’s all stress. Stress from not having money, stress from having to live with Steve’s mom because we’re still not in a place to be out of here (goddess willing, we will be by summer time!), stress from having to go here there and every where and not one person actually willing to give a little. We’re expected at three different places on Christmas, and all of them roughly at the same time, and God forbid we be late to one, or tell another that we just can’t make it. My kids get cranky pretty quick on Christmas, and frankly so do I. Someone always has some sort of issue or crises on Christmas and it’s like the end of the world is upon us. It can’t just be simple. At least, not like it used to be. And it hurts, so very much.
I’m not Christian anymore, I’m pagan. So it always baffles people that I still celebrate Christmas. Why? Why should it be a problem? Why can’t I partake in a holiday that most of my family still celebrates and means a lot to them. Why can’t I find happiness in that? Why do I have such a hard time finding the joy in the season? Where did the peace and goodwill to all mankind go? Last I checked, that wasn’t a specific Christian thing. Why can’t we just stop stressing and trying to get more, more, more… I want things to go back to the way they used to be. Sometimes, I wish I could really travel back in time, just to hold on to those moments, those memories just a little longer, just a little tighter. But I can’t, and as I get older, those memories fade more and more. I can’t remember how my Grandpa’s voice sounded anymore, and unless I am able to watch one of the old family movies we made… I’m afraid I never will. I’m afraid of change. Isn’t that crazy? I mean, change is the way of life – to stay stagnate is to stop living. But I don’t like change, I don’t like people moving away, or dying or getting older. And at Christmas time, those fears are really at the forefront of my mind.
Tomorrow is the 17th anniversary of the day that Steve first asked me out. It shocks people, it really does. For 17 years, he and I have had the most dysfunctional functional relationship ever. We have three beautiful children, and we do actually love one another… but sometimes, it seems as though its conditional. So yeah, 17 years and 3 kids later… wow. How time has gone by. Every so often I see pictures of us when we were younger, back when we first met, and I laugh at how young we are. How much we’ve changed and grown, and learned and in some cases – not grown at all, lol. I don’t think he and I have ever actually celebrated our anniversary, it’s not like it’s a really big deal, just when we started dating, there is no wedding anniversary. But in a way, it really is a big deal. We’ve been together for the most part for over half our lives. How crazy is that? How many relationships do you know like that? It seems like in this day and age, it’s so easy to throw things away when it gets hard. And then there are the relationships that stay together regardless of the fact that they are toxic together and that there is nothing but pain, hurt, anguish… I’m sure some people think that is the basis for my relationship with Steve… but there are always 2 sides to a story, and you only know my side. You don’t know that I hurt and lash out at him just as much as he does to me. It’s this evil, vicious cycle and it’s hard to stop… but then… the things you don’t see… the things that I love so dearly about him… that you don’t see, because it’s just for me. When he holds me when I cry, when he puts his arm around my shoulders when we’re we driving somewhere, or just grabs my hand and holds it. Or how when I’m having a hard time sleeping, he’ll just sit and run his fingers through my hair because he knows it soothes me… even if makes his arm fall asleep because I’m laying all weird. How he’ll watch a sappy movie with me, just because I want to watch it.
We are two drastically different people, who somehow… through all the heartache and torment we put each other through, still find a way to love one another. It takes work. We fight, we scream hurtful things at each other, but then we forgive. It’s a bizarre relationship… but I love him anyway – imperfections and all.
Anyway, so that’s enough of my depressing thoughts!! 2013 is coming to an end, and I really hope that 2014 has something better in store for me and my family. I’ve made some really awesome friends this year, have done some really fun things, learned awesome stuff… and now it’s time for new beginnings, new opportunities for growth and change. New projects and endeavors to begin. I’m actually really excited about it all, so this is me signing off for now!
Happy New Year everyone, I hope it is joyful and filled with happiness, good friends and family, and most of all… peace. I’ll see you all next year!