If there were some magical escape pod that would carry me away until December 26th I'd get on it. Especially if my perfect clone could step in and do all my work, without inconveniencing anyone while I was away. I would not want the show I was doing to suffer. I would want my family and beloved family of pets to well taken care of. Once the madness of CHRISTMAS was over I would come back and enjoy the tree that Joe had put up and the fire in the fireplace and the relatively low-pressure holiday that is New Year's Eve/New Year's Day.
Not to say that I've NEVER had a good Christmas. They're just spaced few and far between. Like blips on the radar. And trust me, I treasure the memory of them. When I was really small, my Dad was Santa Claus at the bank where Mom worked. And oh how he convinced me he was NOT. But NO, I said to him, you have my Daddy's hands. And "Santa" laughed and laughed. I remember being in the Elkin, N.C. Christmas parade--a teeny small town parade--and waving from that float like I was THE biggest star in the world. There was the year I got my tiny emerald ring. A grownup ring that I'm not sure how my parents could afford, but it was my birthstone and they knew how much I wanted it. I promised I would never lose it. So far I've kept my promise.
But then there are the endless holidays and still counting, where there were fights, and tears, and tension. The ones when I was a kid I didn't always know the root cause of all angst. But my guess would be money. The great destroyer of happiness when you don't have enough of it. And my parents struggled alot when we were kids. Think about how much pressure Christmas can put on you when you've got kids clamoring for the latest doo-dad and you're trying to pay for groceries and god knows what else. And then there were Christmases when people were really ill. My sister was so sick one year she almost died. Everyone in the house walked around with their eyes sort of glazed over. I was at my grandma's one week, my brother's the next. Or home with my other brother. That was the Christmas that Mom said honey, why don't you take a shower so Santa can come, because I need to get back to the hospital. I don't blame her. She was strung out, we all were, none of us wanted to believe, could believe that my sister might die.It was an unbearable thought. She pulled through and came home and I drove her crazy following her around for weeks afterward.
Ah, wouldn't it be nice to say here that my family became closer than ever after that. We're just not made that way. We are who we are. And I don't think Christmas suits us well. It stresses my mother out. Especially now that she is struggling with memory issues and the onset of dementia. I'm certain and sure that we all love each other. But we are not a warm fuzzy family. We are not the Brady Bunch. Or any other family ideal you can think of. But I do regret that as we get older we get better at hurting each other. Especially at this time of year. It's inexplicable to me that THANKSGIVING and CHRISTMAS does this to people. I think the idea of loving someone all the time is much better than I love you, but I love you EXTRA during the holidays. So yeah, I'm sort of DONE with holidays. I'm making an effort for Joe at this point. Because he loves Christmas more than anything. But I'm stepping back. Because diving in doesn't work for me anymore. And I'm really, really tired.