Monday, December 15, 2014

Joy and Good Tidings and Stuff Like That

Last Christmas I gave you my heart, but the very next day you gave it away. This year, to save me from tears, I'll give it to someone special


Yeah, that's right, I used Wham.

Sooooo, it's December again . . . there are parties and decorations and celebrations of religious holidays, birthdays for some of us, and then New Years, so there is much merriment to be made. In my life I like to have a pretty fair amount of alone time, I would say slightly more than the average person, so while this time of year is full of so much joy, it can also be a bit much. Nonetheless, would that all my problems were made of such sweet stuff as many social engagements with many friends . . . woe is me. ;-)

This can also be a transforming and introspective time of year. It's a time to look back and take stock over the last year, even if you don't want to, it seems we do. Plus the sun is only out for what seems like four and a half hours a day, so why not, eh?

Putting up the tree is a time of remembrances and memories. When I was little I loved it so much that it was a task generally saved for my birthday. (When I was a kid people didn't spend the mountains of money on children's birthday parties they do now, mama made a cake at home and made something special for dinner, I didn't have to set the dinner table that night, now that's a birthday). It was a family event and I just about pee'd myself with excitement every year. I wonder if my brothers and sisters felt that way? They're older than me and it may have just seemed like a chore to them, BUT TOO BAD BECAUSE IT'S MY BIRTHDAY!!!!! (I seriously have not changed one bit). When you pull out those ornaments every year it's a trip down memory lane, and it's awesome. The wine glass ornament I got on a girls wine tasting weekend in Palisade, the crown penguin ornament I bought as a gift but loved so much I kept it, (oh, it's true), the ornament I stole from a bar (oh, it's true), the ornament Ruthie made for me, the ornament my neighbor made for me, they all have such sweet memories, they are each their own short story. I always put up three stockings; one for Lucy Lulu, one for Delilah Jane, and one for me. Last year was the first year I put up Lucy's with no Lucy in the house. Her stocking is still up this year, as it always will be. I miss my sweet baby girl, and her stocking brings her memory to the forefront again. But at least I still have Delilah trying to climb the tree and knock all the ornaments off. Ahhhh, to be a mom to kitties.

When I put the tree up I watch goofy Christmas movies, duh. But the granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl of Christmas movies, It's A Wonderful Life, is saved for Christmas Eve. Now here is a movie that will make you look back on your life. The weeks prior to Christmas are in full swing, but on Christmas eve all the dust settles. I curl up at home, I make real cocoa on the stove, the only lights in the house are from my Christmas lights and the black and white beauty of Donna Reed and Jimmy Stewart. The hub bub is over, and I rest. Every now and then the ghosts of Christmas's past drop in. One snowy year my sister had forgotten to bring all the stocking stuffers and Santa gifts for my niece and nephew from her house to the family home. They were wee children at the time so not waking up to the goods from jolly ol' St. Nick was unacceptable. My sister and I drove from Littleton, in the middle of a snowy cold night, to the only 24 hour Walgreens in the Denver metro area at the time, on Colfax near Casa Bonita, to get the kids whatever we could so they would know they had been good that year. Another year, the first Christmas my brothers and sister and I spent with no living parents, we all stayed up late and watched Eraserhead, then we ate fried chicken from the Colonel around midnight or so. I was 17 that year, the first year of my life I got to stay up late on Christmas Eve rather than go to bed early for fear Santa wouldn't come. Hey, no parents, we made our own rules.

So 2014 is about to fold in on itself. How did this chapter of your life go? I hope it was a time of immense love and pleasure and growth and delight and laughter. I hope that even when your ship faced stormy times you stayed afloat, I hope if you were adrift for a bit you enjoyed it and learned some new things along the way. When you look at your ornaments this year, or light the candles on your menorah, or celebrate winter solstice rituals, I hope you are able to look back at all the wondrous moments that filled your life this year. This year I witnessed marriage, I witnessed the fruition of a much longed for pregnancy, I witnessed an engagement, and some joyous endings to bad habits gone on too long . . . death of some things can hold the same amount of joy as the birth of other things. As the earth begins her journey around the sun yet another time, I hope you will take time to sit in quiet wonder at the incredible person you are and all the good you have wrought, probably more than you know. You may have smiled at a stranger and changed their entire day. You may have hugged your loved one a little longer and made them feel how special they are to you. You may have hung your kids old, ratty, falling apart ornament made from popsicle sticks and Elmer's glue on the tree to remind both you and them of how beautiful and lasting love can be.

It's dark. The year is pretty much over. Take a few minutes from the holiday schedule, sit, be still, count your blessings and maybe even enjoy a hug and a movie and hot cocoa. Why not, it's dark nineteen and half hours a day.

God bless us everyone.