It’s been a rough week.
My hip hurts. And even though the doctors say it’s arthritis, I’m way too young to hear that come out of any professional’s mouth.
One of my cats died Sunday morning. But he was 417 years old, so it was time.
My house is not the kind of clean I would like it to be, but we’ll blame that on the aforementioned hip, and ignore the fact that I tend to have piles of clean laundry in my bedroom always.
My shoes are strewn about my bedroom in the pattern of a mad woman looking for golden slippers in the bottom of a stack of casual canvas boots, but that, too, is somewhat normal.
I’ve had to say “Good-bye” to someone who hated me with the class and debonair air that would have made my Dad proud, and “Hello” to someone who doesn’t know me with a restrained giddiness. Neither of these things is easy for me.
My kid got a job, but his grades are wanting and after a round of going toe-to-toe with one of his teachers for her inane rules, I can’t seem to get him to realize that doing well at school and adhering to those stupid rules is more important than skateboarding.
My other kid can’t understand why I’m not jumping at the bit to chauffeur him off to Hickory, NC to see his online girlfriend and leave him there alone with her for a couple of hours. Did I mention that Hickory is “only” five hours away? Did I mention he’s only 14?
I’ve wrapped up one fund-raising event, but am settling in the realization that I still have several more to go, and the illusion of having a break between them is a pipe dream.
I’m a little homesick for Cincinnati, my friends there and its never-ending buffet of arts and culture, all the while ignoring, of course, its crappy football team, crazy politics and pollution.
There’s a part of me that wants to cross off everything on my “to do” list and replace it with “stay in pajamas, retire to bed and pull covers over head.”
There is an end in sight though.
It’s only four days after Halloween and Christmas is upon us.
Since Saturday, November 1 by my calendar, I’ve received more than 12 holiday emails from retailers, avoided no less than six holiday specials on Lifetime and listened to zero holiday tunes on a local radio station, even though they are now playing them non-stop.
Usually, this is where I go into a holiday rant about giving me a break and allowing me to revel in one holiday before we go into another. Mostly, I think this is based on the guilt of not having even so much as looked at a single purchase in that “Oh, this would make a great present for someone” mindset or having knit a single stitch for that “oh so perfect handmade present.”
Usually, I get upset about the idea of Christmas decorations going up in stores on October 30 and how we ought to at least get through the Day of the Dead and Veterans Day before we start thinking about Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas. Usually, I’m already bemoaning what disasters will befall us THIS Thanksgiving day (and there are disasters) even without the sister-in-law from Hell in the house, and railing against how oppressive the Christmas holidays are.
But this year, it’s different.
This year, I think I need a little Christmas cheer. Maybe not 54 days of it, but still…
This year, I think I’m ready to start putting up lights and bringing out the Santas early.
In September, we put out the Halloween decorations in the yard. The inflatable “Pop Goes the Evil” maniacal clown Jack-in-the-Box with it’s creepy music has been playing in my yard and in my psyche for a month alongside the inflatable black cat, the inflatable overgrown spider and the inflatable “Witch meets Pumpkin.” Zombie corpses dot our graveyard front yard and a new skeleton dog has joined the troop. Tombstones line the top of my tea pot cabinet and Jack o’Lanterns loom from every surface of our living room, bathroom and kitchen. Wicked witches and ghostly pictures hang where we see them every day.
And I didn’t even get all the Halloween decorations out.
But now, I’m ready to put them away. I think I kind of want some joy.
I want to replace our black glittered roses in the bathroom with holly and evergreens. I want to see Santa and the promise of a happy Christmas morning instead of macabre faces and grimacing skeletons. I want to hold a season in childlike wonder instead of feigned fear.
Maybe I am getting old.
I miss the days when our kids looked forward to advent calendars filled with candy and presents under the tree and trips to the mall Santa who only mildly wreaked of cigarette smoke and bourbon. I miss the days when they counted down the “sleeps” ’til Christmas like the days ’til summer vacation.
I miss the days of my kitchen smelling of cloves and cinnamon and nutmeg and sugar cookies instead of barbeque and pumpkin spice.
I miss the days of happy embraces and red noses and long lingering hugs on the front steps, instead of the creepy movies on TV designed to scare the bejesus out of us.
That’s not to say we don’t have those feelings and expectations of happy anymore despite the season, but I want the most perfect of them now.
I want to feel that happy giddiness that comes with the expectation of a joyous morning and the coma-induced aftermath of present opening and unexpected surprises. I have plans for a few of those awe-inspiring surprises in store for the people who mean so much to me. I want to see them now. I want to linger on their expressions when they rip away the wrapping paper.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving. I love the feeling of having the people I care about close to me and eating with me the food that I’ve cooked. I love lounging on the couch and watching parades and football while the world’s most perfect turkey cooks in the oven. I love the lazy happiness that comes after a great party of mismatched dishes and more food than a family and friends could ever possibly eat.
Heck, I even like the bliss of a perfect Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, complete with turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce.
But I think this year, after all the hardships and all the stress and all the turmoil, I need to just be happy for a while. Maybe even 54 days worth.
There’s a carefree attitude that comes with Christmas that brings out the happy in those who let it infect them. And they tend to spread it amongst their friends and companions.
It’s the ebola of holidays.
So, for once, I’m ready to forego the whining and moaning about “One holiday at a time, please.” I’m ready to give up my pretense that I want to have breaks between my holidays and actually enjoy creating a warm, comforting environment. I’m ready to stop pretending that I don’t like it and I’m not looking forward to it. I’m ready to start seeing circles in the “Toys R Us” catalogue and turned down pages of “Wireless.” I’m ready to know that what I do over the next 54 days will bring some joy to someone.
I need some happy.
It’s been a really tough week.
Copyright (c) Liz Carey 2014