It was the time of year when I would normally be spinning like a crazed dreidel pulling together joy and magic for the holidays, but not this year.
There were times when I wondered if I was on the edge of flipping my shizzle sticks.
Well, truthfully, I did completely flip them several times in the weeks leading up to the holidays, and at certain points, I even wondered if they were lost altogether.
As a lifelong ponderer, I’m unable to be content just chalking it up to hormones or low blood sugar.
For me, the magic of celebrations is a really big deal, and not having the energy or even the inclination to deal with them was….well...kinda freaky.
It had been really cold, dark and rainy, and I’m fairly sure that I am not genetically designed for that. I know that Northern California cold of 40 degrees is not quite like Midwest cold of minus 12 billion degrees, but the people who live there are simply hardier than me in that way. I would just cease motion, give into the pain and die within 15 minutes of going outside in that kind of frigid hell.
Anyhoo, I know winter is hard on me and definitely dampens my mental state. Another thing that wa hard on me is that this was the first Christmas in 18 years (AKA, her entire LIFE) that I have spent without my Girl Child. She’ was a world away in Ecuador, with her host family.
Lastly, the holidays are just hard because they trigger all sorts of issues about family and money and gifts and celebrations and expectations. And when you’re pulling together somewhat unfamiliar people in unknown scenarios, it’s even harder.
It’s hard to be all “Let’s make holiday magic” when the utility bill has quadrupled, you are tired and deprived of natural daylight, and juggling things that you don’t really want to juggle, but are pretty sure if you stop, they will crash and shatter into 40,000 pieces that you will have to clean up yourself because most people aren’t inclined to take the lead and just take care of a mess, no matter how friggen obvious it is.
And also, even though I still totally loved the idea of holiday sparkle and magic, and my heart was sorely missing that, the sad reality was that not everyone thinks the same things are magic as I do, and the thought of pulling together a dissapointment was exhausting.
So, it kind of felt like there was a good chance that I could sew and bake and create away making things from my heart, or spend all kinds of money on things or experiences I think would be rad, but there was no guarantee that the recipients would like them or even care.
And all of that was rather depressing, and not so inspiring at all.
So, I found myself here in the season of giving, feeling like I had not much to give at all. It’s not as though I was completely impoverished in creativity or time or funds. I knew I was blessed to have enough of each of those areas, but to me, holiday giving is supposed to be from the heart, and my heart felt depleted.
And also, I was missing my kid.
I’m actually super happy for her and proud that she has worked so hard to create the opportunities she has to adventure out in the wonderful wide world, AND that she is brave enough to take advantage of them, and competent to thrive, but still, my home feels weird.
Adding to the whole partial Grinch thing I was feeling is realizing that there had also been a number of small thorns in my mojo that I tried ignoring or being sensitive about, thinking I could just work around,them, and always hoping they would find their own way out of my well being.
But they didn’t.
They went deeper and deeper inside and even when you couldn’t see them on the surface, they were there. After enough festering and neglect, they got infected and eventually a whole lotta toxicity burst out of me in the form of head spinning, fire breathing extreme meanness.
Anyone who has experienced the kind of out of body experience where you’ve lost your mind due to being soooooooo mad knows that it’s like watching someone else yelling and thinking “Sheesh. You need to calm the heck down, Lady.” (my guess is many, if not most, parents have had this happen, whether they can admit it or not)
Anyway, that in and of itself is exhausting and did not contribute at all to my being able to pull off holiday happiness.
I guess the good news is that I at least try to learn and grow from my mistakes, and I worked to take measures to avoid any more of such ugliness. In this case, it meant talking directly to the people around me about what was going on, delegating some of the weight off of my shoulders, taking care of myself better and taking steps to put myself in a better space.
My Partner is a Wise Man and he mentioned that perhaps I don’t have to be sad about not having the energy to make holiday magic….that maybe it’s not all on me to come up with things and that maybe I could just try to be open to letting it happen on it’s own.
“You mean, like don’t try to pull it all together myself??? Just wait and see?”
I’m pretty sure I stared at him in disbelief for about 5 minutes after that.
Honestly, that crazy thought never crossed my mind.
The thing was, he was kinda right and the magic of the season did happen without a whole lot intervention on my part.
Sure we bought a lot of food, because that always helps everything and we worked together to find gifts that felt right for people~ with support by my side, I wasn’t too Grinchy for that.
The thing was, I just did what I could in the easiest and most low stress way and let go of any expectations about how it would actually turn out.
And it all turned out pretty darn nicely.
No, it wasn’t like some happy, made for TV Christmas special where we all laughed and sang carols, sipping hot cocoa by the fireside.
It was more like an oddball bunch of semi, but not entirely blended people eating tamales from Costco and way too many sugary things, playing games and watching Netflix with a few outside excursions thrown in.
And that in and of itself, was magical enough for me.
A lot of people wished for a white Christmas. I was just glad that mine wasn’t as blue as I thought it would be.