This is going to be another post where I don't talk about the outfit I'm wearing above. I understand if it's too much for some, and it won't hurt my feelings if you skip it. I've decided to start a series called real talk, where I discuss things that are relevant to me and how I'm feeling. I'm sure you've noticed it over the last few months but now it's got a name! So here we go...
This is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. So why do so many people struggle with it? For a long time I assumed it was just me being a grinch, but after working with foster children and at-risk youth, I came to know that many of us experience the holiday blues. Sadly it's not just adults either. It's children who aren't with their families, or young adults who have lost their parents to drug addictions and the law. That's the part that really breaks me. My friend lost her father a few years ago to an aggressive form of cancer. He was her rock, and in an instant, he was gone. Other friends of mine have lost their families to infidelity, divorce, and misunderstandings. Even more have lost loved ones to terminal illness or inevitable old age.
My story is somewhere in the muck. My parents are divorced, and I haven't spent a single Christmas with my dad since I was 18. He calls each year to say hi, but the conversation is short. I'm lucky that I have Nate's family to spend Christmas with. They are incredibly generous and kind-hearted, and there's no doubt in my mind that even if I wasn't married to their son, I would still be invited over because that's who they are. My sister-in-law is a hair stylist, and she invites one of her older clients over every year because she doesn't have family here in America (she's from Germany).
But the blues creep in despite the kindness of my "adopted" family. I thought it would go away when I married, but if anything, it's gotten worse and I have no idea why. My friends tell me this will change once I have little ones running around, and I really hope they're right. I guess it boils down to feeling a lack of control. I can't control that my parents don't get together anymore. My mom isn't in the kitchen cooking, my grandma's booming laughter isn't reverberating throughout my house, my dad doesn't get to wrap his arms around me. And conversely, Nate and I haven't yet established our own traditions so it doesn't feel as special as it should. I'm 32 and I should be over these things by now, but the wounds haven't quite healed yet. Nate and I plan on going to midnight mass this year because I think that faith is a huge part in being at peace with the past, present, and future.
I hope faith will propel me into being grateful for what I do have, not what I have lost. The past is best left behind, and the future hopefully holds better things. I just ask for two simple things this season that no doubt make the holidays easier for those of us that don't really enjoy them:
1) Don't be a jerk on the road. I know everywhere is crowded with shoppers trying to check off their lists. But please don't flip me off on the way to the mall because you need to get your presents like yesterday. That's not the point. If you think that is the point, I feel sorry for you.
2) When you do get to the mall, or a restaurant to celebrate, don't be so hasty. Open doors for people, say thank you. I'm observant to a fault while I'm out in my community and am sometimes disturbed by people's lack of manners and general politeness towards others. On the other hand, I feel restored when I witness acts of simple kindness. More of that!
I hope reading this didn't give you the blues! This isn't my intention. I just want to point out that amidst all the twinkling lights, hot cocoa, and Christmas carols... that some people are hurting. If you love this time of year then that's great! I wish everyone did.
I just prefer the Summer.