In November we talked about Gratitude and Thankfulness. We turned over every stone and looked in places we sometimes didn’t want to go, but we found it! The turkey carcass hasn’t even been stripped clean and we are in the midst of the Christmas season. Shopping, “Bring a Dish to Pass”, Cookies, Decorations, Family Dysfunction & More Shopping. This month, we’re looking at Comfort & Joy. LIFE Comfort and Joy! What brings you comfort and joy? We’ll share ours and we hope you’ll share yours.
For your listening pleasure…Barenaked Ladies “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”
It’s Christmas Eve. Not a creature is stirring, the stockings are all washed and put away where they belong, St. Nicholas isn’t coming because we’re not entertaining this year and the children…well, they’re busy creating Christmas magic of their own for their kids.
Last week Lee wrote about finding comfort and joy in new traditions. At mid life you’re looking at an empty nest…and I mean a really empty nest, not the temporary empty nest where you’re kids come home from college simply to do laundry and grab a home cooked meal. I’m talking about the kind of empty nest where you’re kids now have kids of their own and need to start their own traditions and have to split any remaining holiday time with another family – the in-laws. I readily accept and acknowledge their need to traditions of their own.
It’s time for me to start looking at things with a different perspective… to quote a line from the Uppity Blues Women;
seems that when you reach around middle aged, you don’t want a final chapter…you want to write another page.
As a former grinch, I spent a lot of energy in the last few years standing strong in my stance to no longer acknowledge Christmas (at least the over commercialized version)…I wanted to exclaim from the highest mountain… There is no comfort & joy this time of year! Everyone you meet is completely stressed out. I was becoming the spirit of Charlie Brown – Christmas is just an over commercialized time of year.
I found myself guilty of embracing the unhappiness that followed me from childhood. Christmas seemed to bring out the worse in my mother and the only memory of Christmas I have as a child is an overwhelming feeling that the shit was about to hit the fan….stay low, keep your head down, it’ll soon be over. I thought if I could repel the season, I’d finally be free of the hot breath of unhappiness I could always feel breathing down my neck…especially this time of year. One thing I’ve realized and fully embraced since I’ve begun writing is this; it’s up to me to create the happiness in my life – Since I can’t out run the unhappiness from childhood, I have to stop trying and start running TOWARDS something else.
Last week I tried explaining my Christmas dysfunction to my hair stylist. He said my Fa La La was broken and I just needed to come to his house.
As I sat and thought about this last week, I realized I still had some planning to do. My husband and I had begun new traditions, and I realized I was looking forward to the day. Even though we have no tree, there are no presents and we have no family to join us this year, we still have created a day I look forward to. Instead of the traditional Christmas trappings, we have created a day that’s perfect for just the two of us. A traditional dinner that always includes – A Beef Tenderloin that I have (if I do say so myself) perfected – we both really enjoy great food! The tenderloin wouldn’t be complete without the requisite side of heavy cream whipped with horseradish. I look for new creative sides each year and we always have a stunning dessert. We spend the day hanging out, watching movies, taking a walk and enjoying all of our favorite foods. I always know his cell phone won’t ring, but mine will. We’ll for sure FaceTime with the grandkids.
So Instead of running away from that unsettling feeling every time Christmas comes around, I’m embracing the new page we’re writing. The comfort and joy I sought out in my youth and repelled in my adult years has turned to a much more significant type of comfort and joy. What a wonderful life to be in being in a happy relationship, having a comfortable home and not feeling the pressure to pull magic out of my
Next year will be different. My Son and Daughter In Law, along with their 4 children will be living with us. We’ve all agreed Christmas (as most people know it) will be back on the calendar in 2014. Together we will make new traditions and might even borrow some old ones. Next year I will be part of a Christmas celebration and not the responsible person to construct it…that makes me look forward to a future that includes Christmas.
Do you struggled with a new kind of Christmas? Tell us about it!
Oh, and just in case you’re interested….give a listen to the Uppity Blues Women singing about middle age. It has nothing to do with Christmas, but it’ll make you smile!