Friday, December 2, 2011

Bah Humbug = The Blues

Maybe this song deserved a trigger alert?  The Emotions can rip your heart out of your chest and Alicia Keys wasn't too bad in that video either.

Despite my general chubbiness and fat, dimpled cheeks I am not actually inclined to jolliness-especially during the holiday season.

There are any number of reasons why.*  The main one is that as we have gotten older, my family and I have drifted farther and farther apart.  I remember as a child being excited and annoyed by the holidays.  Thanksgiving and Christmas meant visiting, which was fun, and having to share beds or sleep on the floor, which was not.  There would be family everywhere and plenty of people to play with.  We had a Christmas tree and Christmas decorations.  On Christmas day there would usually be at least one new toy for each kid but what I remember most, what I miss most, is the gathering together.

All of our holiday traditions were built around that homecoming.  My mother's family would gather at her sister's house in Montrose.  My father's family would descend on my grandmother's house in Blackwell.  I go to any one of those places on any major holiday and I could expect an overcrowded, overheated house with no place to sit, no privacy, and an eternal waiting list for the bathroom.

Things change.

People grew older and less able to do the holiday work.  Sons and daughters chipped in but then they moved farther away for work.  The road home became too long.  They stopped coming.  Brothers and sisters grew up and the life of the family wasn't enough to contain them.  Children left home and each year it became more and more difficult to haul the tree out of the box, to put up the decorations, to go through the motions.  The holiday shuffle ground to a halt.

I understood it, but I wasn't ready.  I decided to be bitter about Christmas in general instead of sad.

I was a teenager when I had to let go of those traditions.  Now I am an adult, one of the ones who moved too far from home to make the trip back.  Now I have my husband's family to consider, and a visitation arrangement that last year meant we spent six hours of Christmas day on the interstate.

This year, despite everything, I am going to try to do things differently.

*Not least of which is the expectation of jolliness.  Why force a person to pretend goodness and joy?  That's brutal.

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