Most Wonderful Time?

My bluebird of happiness ornament

As hard as I try, I can never entirely avoid a good cry or two during the holiday season. I call it the “Christmas Cry”, and I had a couple good ones this year. December stirs up a lot of emotion for me, and I know I’m not crazy for, or alone in this in the slightest. I don’t like the pressure to be anything other than what I am, or to feel anything other than what I feel. And I’m terrible at pretending otherwise.

Christmas is this huge deal to a lot of people, and it’s built up for weeks-and-weeks-and-oh-the-shopping-and-the-gifts-and-the-parties-and-the-cookies-and-the-blah-and-the-blah. It’s a little too much for this low-key introvert. Every time I hear that carol that starts with “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”  all I can think is “Geeze, the pressure…”.

I’m no Grinch though. I adore the real tree I have – the one I get every year from The Maher Garden Center. Each ornament has meaning, and I love unpacking them and hanging them. I love the lights around Newport, strung all over trees and boats and storefronts. I love the food, and the wine, and the time shared with friends and family. I love making cocoa and watching “Elf” and, please don’t judge, “Love Actually” (though that triggered an early Christmas Cry this year.) I even like some of the music.
In the past few days, I decided to put aside a few hours alone for myself on this Christmas day. When people asked me what I was doing today, I didn’t expect the looks of pity I received when I mentioned the plan for some solitude. I guess that sounded sad to some people. But the truth is I really just needed a long walk, and a nap, and to rest after a busy couple of weeks. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised by the looks, since this holiday is engineered for moms and dads with kids. But me? I’m childless (by choice), and single (by fate) at  forty. And while I’m comfortable with my life, I’ll admit that it’s tough not to feel a little sting about it, now and then, and especially at Christmas.
But I’m not the slightest bit lonely or sad today, save for missing my dad a little. I spent Christmas eve and part of this morning with the family I was born in to – 5 brothers and 2 sisters, my mom, some nephews (lost count, 5?), one awesome niece, and a few in-laws. They are all strong, unique, smart and, well, totally annoying people. But they crack me up endlessly, and I am so grateful for them.
And then I have the family I chose – friends, who know my every quirk and flaw, every strength and weakness – who’ve held me in their arms and hearts through very tough times, and who keep me laughing every day. I’ll be spending time with some of them tonight, and some of them tomorrow night, which means that the only Christmas Cry-ing I’ll be doing is laughing until I cry.

I am obviously counting my blessings here. And that is a holiday tradition I am totally fine with.

Peace and love to you all.

Oh, also: more food, less pain,
xoxo -L
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2 thoughts on “Most Wonderful Time?

  1. Oh Louise, as usual, I love your posts. I too, was so grateful to have 3.5 whole hours to myself on Christmas. My ticket out of the festivities at the in-laws house was being sick, but I took it and ran. Not that I'm not grateful for all of them, but you understand. I couldn't fathom any more “doing”– especially with 26 people expected in one house (nine of those children). I actually said to Jason the night before, “I'm 40 dammit, and I think I should be able to do what I want on christmas… I can't wait around until I'm 60 to finally stop worrying about making other people happy!” [sounds like the Bloggess post you linked– it must be a pattern with turning 40?] And yes, I was coughing up a lung, but happy doing some yoga and then reading on the couch next to my tree. Lots of love to you, Louise. I hope that when I finally get to move back to newport (someday, I hope!) we can eat some good food together.

  2. Colleen – thank you so much for the lovely thoughts. I hope you're feeling better. And I too thought that stuff about being 40 & getting to just make my own traditions dammit already! And if you come back to Newport, yes, absolutely we will eat well together. Love to you & yours. xo

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