Wednesday, January 3, 2018

See You Next Year, Christmas

This Christmas season was a hard one for me. I tried my best to focus on the positives and enjoy it, but sometimes the best thing to do in order to move forward is just to admit the truth. This was hard, and it wasn't my favorite Christmas season ever. The timing of Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve meant that we had a full liturgy on days when I would normally spend most of the day preparing for the special events of the evening and the next day, and I drastically underestimated how much harder this would make my preparations. I felt like I never really got to leave behind that hurried pace that usually ends on Christmas Eve. As a person who prefers a slower pace overall, this was taxing for me.

Christmas is also a time when all the complexities of household work sharing become more of a burden than ever. One of the hardest things about being the household manager/primary caregiver/educator while my other half is in paid work is that the line between what is my duty and what should be a shared duty (or someone else's duty) is blurred. That old line, "If you need help, just ask" invites me to fall into a pit of resentment and self pity, and I'll admit that sometimes I lean pretty far over the edge of that chasm. Maybe I'd like to dive in head first sometimes, when I wake up to most of the Christmas dinner dishes staring at me. I don't want to ask. I want someone to notice how hard I've been working already to make these holiday traditions happen and just help out, without me giving a little speech about how cleaning up the house is a family job, and anyone can do these things, not just me. When I give that speech, I am rolling my eyes at myself. But somehow I can't help giving it.

To add insult to injury, I lost a dear old friend between Christmas and New Year's. She was 97, so it's not like it was entirely unexpected, but I am grieving the loss of her presence on this earth nevertheless. I had hoped to see her again next fall, when we'll be near enough to where she was living to visit. In my mind, I pictured her living to 100. I was sure she would do it, having beat a lot of odds already. But she didn't. And I am sad. I am sad while my child complains about not getting to watch the movie she wanted to watch. I am sad when my other child is angry at me for not having her preferred breakfast food available. I am sad when I am cleaning up more of the Christmas mess.

So I find I am happy to move forward out of the Christmas season. We've got one more holiday, Genna, to account for, but there is a light at the end of these weeks of extra work, and I am glad. For the most part, 2018 appears that it will be less stressful than 2017. I've got some projects I'm working on that will hopefully improve my Scrooge-y mood and our family life overall. I'm feeling hopeful about the midterm elections in the US. I think 2018 is going to be okay. I'm ready for it.

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