Friday, December 21, 2007

Homo For the Holidays

It's that time of year again. For some it's about presents. For some it's about their faith. For others it's about a magical time of year, and goodwill toward others. I admit this year I've found the Christmas spirit to be a bit...elusive. It's hard to be festive when you have bouts of intense pain. When you're sick of your job. When you can't play Auntie face-to-face because of distance and obscene airfare. When you can't afford to do the holiday the way you'd like.

Don't get me wrong: There is a great deal that I am very much looking forward to over this break. Not having to wake up and go to work will be GREAT. Spending lots of time with the puppies. Making fires. Making LOTS of Christmas presents. Catching up on movies I didn't see while having a glass of wine and crocheting or making jewelry.

The holidays have always been about family to me, though. This is my 5th Christmas without Mom, and that's still a bit tough at times. This year, we made the old family cookie recipes, though, and it was SO nice to have a cookie decorating party again. MandyFish and NerdyGirl will be here in Laramie. Together. For the first time in a LONG time. And from the sounds of it, we could have one of the largest flock gatherings/homecomings/happenings ever. I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing everyone again.

Holidays with Mom were about love and support. "If one of your friends can't make it home, you make damned sure you bring them along. I just need a few hours notice so I can make sure there's enough dinner." And there were Thanksgivings and Christmases and Easters and others where someone would be pulled along. Sometimes they were reluctant at first, but by the time they left they were giving Mom a big hug at the door. They also usually had a plate or tub of leftover something tucked under their arm, so there was a bit of home-cooked goodness to ease us back into reality. We'd put people on the couch or air matress, as the mobile home didn't have a guest room when both kids are home. Mom used to tell potential guests "It's anything but the Ritz Carlton, but there's space to sleep, food to eat, and you're welcome to share anything we've got." She even kept spare stocking stuffer presents, just in case. Because nobody should have to do a holiday without at least one present to open.

Those who've been to Ruby Slippers (my house) might find this attitude familiar. At least, I sure as hell hope they do! We didn't have much growing up. Dirt poor, some might say. But we always had ENOUGH, and made sure to share what there was. I try to do the same thing today. "Sure, you can have some of that." "Yes, bring them!" "Let me make sure I have enough food." "So glad to see you."

Today's lesson: It's not about carols, cookies, or cards. It's not about gifts, getting, or garland. Most of my friends have a LOT of big stuff going on in their lives, and a lot of it is not GOOD big stuff. At this time of year, try to focus on the fact that you have a chance to spend time with someone. To talk with them. When coping with the stress that families bring on, remember that we're all human beings. Nothing else should matter. Be thankful for gifts the universe has given and mindful of those around you. Don't focus on your own problems, and don't focus on the flaws of others. Focus on the good times you've had and laughter you've shared. Remember the times they were there for you. When you think about those things, it's hard not offer every inch of floor space and the last cracker in the pantry. And isn't THAT what the holidays are supposed to be about?

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