Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas, Christmas Time is here...

Christmas is a tough time of year for a lot of people. When everyone is supposed to be "merry and bright" the cheery Christmas carols, happy people and bright lights can be a knife in the heart to people already struggling.

I hated Christmas for years. It was a tough time of year at our home, because Cutty Sark played a prominent role in my dad's Christmas celebrations...and mom and I spent many a Christmas in a state of suspended animation...waiting for SOMETHING to happen, and it usually did. I dreaded Christmas. In later years, I HATED Christmas. Christmas was also my father's favorite time of year so the irony was strong.

It wasn't until I became a parent that I forced myself to change my perspective, and to see it through the eyes of my child. I'm still stressed and rushed, but I'm taking the time to marvel at the beauty of the decorated Christmas tree, to appreciate the simple beauty of the Christmas lights, and to laugh in shared delight as my daughter discovers my favorite Christmas shows: the original Grinch, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Rudolph and Charlie Brown. We have watched them together over and over...because I already owned them. She hasn't developed an appreciation for Mr Bean yet...but she may later. My daughter was dancing with excitement yesterday when she came down in the morning and found parcels under the tree. She was getting concerned that it was barren. She called my mom to tell her, and it was the first thing that she told her daddy when he came home. There were parcels for everyone...but mainly for her!

I set myself up to be stressed. It's Christmas Eve, and I still have a ridiculous amount to do. Some of it is simply not going to get done. We have the food for the feast, we have family, we have presents. We have a job, we have a home, we have our health and we have our amazing child. Everything else is a bonus, and if the shortbreads don't get made this year, so be it. I still have to clean the house, but it won't be perfect. It will be okay. I've been hobbling on crutches for a week with a funky hip/pelvis that has locked and left me unable to stand. It gets better, and then it gets worse. It is what it is and I can only do what I can do. In the grand scheme of things, it really isn't that important if there is dust in the crevices. It certainly isn't important enough to cause me to spend Christmas Day in debilitating pain. If the family doesn't understand, the problem is theirs.

My best friend has just separated from her husband, and she is at the other end of the world from her family. She's working Christmas Day and then going to a friend's house. My cousins lost their mom earlier this year, and so did another of my friends. I sang at more than a dozen funerals this year for people facing their first Christmas without their loved one...or their second...or the 19th...there are moments that will always kick you in the heart and Christmas is one of them. Many people are facing job loss, uncertainty, serious illness, financial problems, cancer, sick parents, sick siblings, sick kids...Christmas will be anything but merry.

I learned the hard way that it is okay to feel fragile. It is okay to give yourself permission to be less than perfect. It's okay to be sad, it's okay to feel less than merry and bright. It's okay to cry, to acknowledge the loss and the sadness. It's when we don't do those things that we end up depressed or anxious.

I wish you all peace. I wish you good health, prosperity, quiet moments of happiness, simple things to bring you comfort and solace. I send you all a hug and tidings of comfort and joy. I wish you love.

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